WINTER REGIME OF A TIDAL INLET IN THE ARCTIC AND THE USE OF AIR BUBBLES FOR THE PROTECTION OF WHARF STRUCTURES

Simon Ince

Abstract


Shipping in the Canadian Arctic is limited to about 2i months in summer. Curing this short period all communities have to be supplied with sufficient provisions and fuel to last the long winters. The Department of Public Works of Canada has built wharves and docking facilities in various Arctic centres to speed up the unloading operations. Many of the conventional pile structures have been destroyed by the 6 ft. thick ice layer which grips the piles and moves them up and down in response to the tide. To prevent this, an air bubbler system was installed three years ago at Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. to inhibit the formation of ice around the wharf.' This unit has been operating successfully since that time and no further damage has been reported. This first success inspired the installation of a second unit at Cambridge Bay, N.W.T. where similar difficulties were being encountered. The air bubbler system at Cambridge Bay did not fulfill its promise and the wharf was damaged. This had been predicted, but the success at Tuktoyaktuk - despite the suspected influence of the Mackenzie River - was a mystery. In April 1961 the author investigated the bubbler system and its oceanographic environment at Cambridge Bay, and in April 1962 those in Tuktoyaktuk. The results of these surveys are reports in the following paragraphs.

Keywords


tidal inlet; winter; arctic; bubbles as protection of wharfs

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