Regional Monitoring Network
The WBEA operates a regional meteorological monitoring network that surrounds the core of the Athabasca Oil Sands mining area and extends outwards to 120 kilometres with instruments. The network, located at Forest Health Monitoring program sites, consists of six 30-meter tall towers situated in interior motioning sites and six tripods situated in canopy-free areas adjacent to forest edge monitoring sites. These stations provide essential data from outside the Athabasca River valley, where few continuous data sources exist, and generate observations that are used to characterize wind flow within the WBEA airshed region, to calculate emission deposition, and to evaluate ecological data.
Meteorological sensors provide continuous data on wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, air temperature, and relative humidity. Tower sites provide a measurement profile, with four levels of sensors above, below, and within the jack pine canopy that conform to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s CASTNET Multi-Layer Model (MLM) requirements.