Arctic Drifter Buoys

The Arctic ice drifter buoys are deployed in remote locations such as Peel Sound, Franklin Strait, Queen Maud Gulf, Davis Strait and Dease Strait. ONC partners with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to archive and provide online access to the drifter data.

Ice drifters include a string of temperature sensors called thermistors which freeze into the thickness of sea ice as the buoys drift. They also contain a GPS device to record the location of the buoy when temperature readings are taken. Each drifter buoy typically measures:

  • air temperature
  • ice surface temperature
  • ice temperature at 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2m depth
  • latitude
  • longitude

Once installed ice drifters move passively with the moving sea ice, until they eventually sink when the ice melts in summer.

Depth: 0-2 m
Setting: Darnley Bay, Davis Strait, Dease Strait, Franklin Strait, Peel Sound, Queen Maud Gulf, Victoria Strait
Studies: ice melt and movement, climate

Arctic Drifter Buoys Map