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Armchair Scientists: Monitoring Caribou Climate
Tracking Daylength in Caribou-land

Thanks to technology, you can sit in the comfort of your climate controlled classroom and conduct science observations in the Arctic. What does a day look like to our caribou?

Old Crow, Yukon
Coutesy of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

We have daylength information from a small community called Old Crow, where many Porcupine caribou congregate during the winter and early spring. Located at 67.65 N, and -139.50, Old Crow is situated at the confluence of the Crow and the Porcupine Rivers. The only Yukon community located above the arctic, it is a small town of about 300 aboriginal people; known as the Vuntut Gwitchin. People in Old Crow enjoy long summer days and experience the short days of summer.

Study the information below and use it to make some predictions about the caribou. We will be adding new sunrise and sunset times each week for you.

Date

Sunrise

Sunset

Hours of
Daylight

Hours of Darkness

 12/24/01

 twilight starts 10:53

 twilight ends 16:05

 24.0

12/31/01 

12:48

 13:58

 1.0

 23.0

 01/07/02

12:15 

14:38

 (You calculate)

  (You calculate)

01/14/02 

 11:45

15:14

 (You calculate) 

  (You calculate)

 01/21/02

 11:16

15:47

 (You calculate) 

 (You calculate) 

 01/28/02

10:46 

 16:21

 (You calculate) 

 (You calculate) 

 02/04/02

 10:18

16:50 

 (You calculate) 

 (You calculate) 

 02/11/02

 9:50

17:19

 (You calculate) 

 (You calculate) 

02/18/02 

 9:21

17:47

 (You calculate) 

 (You calculate) 

 02/25/02

8:55 

18:14

 (You calculate) 

(You calculate)  

03/04/02 

8:24

18:40

 (You calculate)

 (You calculate)

 03/11/02

7:56

19:05

 (You calculate)

 (You calculate)

 03/18/02

 7:27

19:30

  (You calculate)

  (You calculate)

 03/25/02

6:58

19:55

 (You calculate)

 (You calculate)

 04/01/02

 6:28

20:18

 (You calculate)

 (You calculate)

04/08/02

6:00

20:46

(You calculate)

(You calculate)

 04/15/02

5:30

21:12

 (You calculate)

(You calculate)

04/22/02

5:00

21:39

(You calculate)

(You calculate)

 04/29/02

4:30

22:08

 (You calculate)

 (You calculate)

05/06/02

3:58

22:38

(You calculate)

(You calculate)

05/13/02

3:24

23:12

(You calculate)

(You calculate)

05/20/02

2:47

23:51

(You calculate)

(You calculate)

         
Daylength recorded at Old Crow, Yukon (67.65N, -139.50), on the Porcupine River. Recorded in military time;13:00 = 1PM

Try This:

  • Make a graph of the number of hours of daylength from late December (Winter Solstice) to mid-June (Summer Solstice).
  • Keep a record of the hours of daylength in your hometown every Monday from Winter Solstice to Summer Solstice and compare your day light with the caribou's daylight on the Porcupine River.
  • Calculate how much more daylength there is everyday and graph the change.

Journalling Questions:

  1. Take a look at the locations of the caribou in their wintering grounds. Predict how they respond to the change in daylength of their habitat. Do you think the migration will move in relation to that change?
  2. Did you know the caribou live in almost total darkness for about 2 weeks every year? (The sun doesn't rise above the horizon from about December 15 to December 27 every year.) How would you feel if it were dark for 2 weeks every winter where you live?
  3. Do you think that temperature is affected by the amount of time the sun is out?
  4. How do the caribou find food when days are so short, or when the sun never rises?

To find out more about the temperature in Old Crow, Yukon each week:

To learn more about Old Crow- its history and culture:

 

 
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