Gonzales Observatory, Victoria, for Atmospheric Biogeochemistry Research


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The Gonzales Observatory (GO) is part of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences (SEOS) Biogeochemistry Facility at the University of Victoria. Situated on top of Gonzales Hill, around 4 km from UVic, the GO is one of the oldest buildings in Victoria. Originally the building was constructed for geophysical measurements, but was adapted by Denison for astronomic observation. As the ambient city light made this location less for astronomy, it became the home of a Atmospheric Environment Service weather station. The site boasts one of the longest climate measurement records on the west coast of North America.

Today, at this location we conduct our research in atmospheric trace gases using remote sensing techniques. In particular, we pursue the development of Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS). This is an optically based approach to measure the spatial and temporal distribution of greenhouse gases in an urban environment. The location is unique because it is:

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Looking north up at the GO from the base of the Gonzales Hill CRD Park

 
The GO is a protected Heritage Site in Victoria, currently managed by the CRD Parks.

View looking west from the roof of the GO towards downtown Victoria and Sooke/Metchosin communities. The Olympic Mountains (Washington State, USA) are in the distance.  

 

 

View looking south from the roof of the GO across the Juan de Fuca Strait, that demarcates BC, Canada and WA, USA. The Olympic Mountains are seen in the distance.

 

 

Part of the TDLAS experimental setup to measure trace atmospheric gases at the GO.
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