Data from BC lightstations

Photo: map

Map of BC Lightstations. Click to enlarge.

Contact

Peter Chandler
DFO Oceanographer and Project Manager
Peter.Chandler@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Daily sea surface temperature and salinity observations have been carried out at several locations on the coast of British Columbia since the early part of the 20th century. Observations started at the Pacific Biological Station (Departure Bay) in 1914; 11 stations were added in the mid-1930s and several more in the 1960s. The number of stations reporting at any given time has varied as sampling has been discontinued at some stations, and started or resumed at others.

Presently termed the British Columbia Shore Station Oceanographic Program (BCSOP), there are 12 participating stations; most of these are staffed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, but two (Race Rocks and Amphitrite Point) are sampled by contracted observers.

Observations are made daily using seawater collected in a bucket lowered into the surface water at or near the daytime high tide. This sampling method was designed long ago by Dr. John P. Tully and has not been changed in the interests of a homogeneous data set. This means, for example, that if an observer starts sampling one day at 6 a.m., and continues to sample at the daytime high tide on the second day the sample will be taken at about 06:50 the next day, 07:40 the day after etc. When the daytime high-tide gets close to 6 p.m. the observer will then begin again to sample early in the morning, and the cycle continues. Since there is a day/night variation in the sea surface temperatures the daily time series will show a signal that varies with the14-day tidal cycle. This artifact does not affect the monthly sea surface temperature data.

Lightstation Daily sea surface temperature and salinity Monthly sea surface temperatures Monthly sea surface salinities Average
Active Pass 1967 to 2011 1967 to 2011 1967 to 2011
Amphitrite Point 1934 to 2017 1934 to 2017 1934 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Bonilla Island 1960 to 2017 1960 to 2017 1960 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Cape Beale 1971 to 1998 1971 to 1998 1971 to 1998 1956 to 1991
Cape Mudge 1936 to 1985 1936 to 1985 1936 to 1985 1956 to 1991
Cape St. James 1934 to 1992 1934 to 1992 1934 to 1971 1956 to 1991
Chrome Island 1961 to 2017 1961 to 2017 1961 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Departure Bay (DFO Lab.) 1914 to 2017 1914 to 2017 1914 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Egg Island 1970 to 2017 1970 to 2017 1970 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Entrance Island 1936 to 2017 1936 to 2017 1936 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Kains Island 1935 to 2017 1935 to 2017 1935 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Langara Island 1936 to 2017 1936 to 2017 1936 to 2017 1956 to 1991
McInnes Island 1954 to 2017 1954 to 2017 1954 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Nootka Point 1934 to 2017 1934 to 2017 1934 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Pine Island 1937 to 2017 1937 to 2017 1937 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Race Rocks (Victoria) 1921 to 2017 1921 to 2017 1921 to 2017 1956 to 1991
Sheringham Point 1968 to 1989 1968 to 1989 1968 to 1989 1956 to 1991
Sisters Islets 1968 to 2008 1968 to 2005 1968 to 2005 1956 to 1991
West Vancouver (DFO Lab) 1979 to 1993 1979 to 1993 1979 to 1993 1979 to 1991

The following gives access to daily observations for a few random sites for which the time-series length is very short. None of these sites are presently being monitored.