CEN Clearwater Lake Station

Situated in Nunavik (Northern Quebec, Canada) on the shores of Clearwater Lake, this CEN station is about 125 km inland from the eastern coast of Hudson Bay. Clearwater Lake is the second largest natural lake of the province of Quebec and features two adjacent, circular basins (26 and 36 km in diameter) that were created by a meteoritic impact.

The CEN Clearwater Lake Research Station is legally owned by the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), but is operated by the Centre d’études nordiques (CEN: Centre for Northern Studies) through a long term lease. This station is part of the CEN Network, more precisely the Qaujisarvik Network of stations and is on the land of a provincial park that is co-managed by KRG and the government of Québec (Tursujuq National Park). All visitors must obtain permits to visit and conduct research: http://www.nunavikparks.ca/en/parks/tursujuq

CEN research has been conducted here since 1980, but the station buildings are recent, built in 2000 and upgraded to 2014. The buildings were originally built by outfitters, but have been considerably upgraded by the CEN. The station holds four buildings that can accommodate nine people. They are equipped with solar-powered electricity, running water, dry toilettes, oil heating, and include one laboratory. 

Topics which are studied at the station include the following (but are not exclusive to these): ecological dynamics of shoreline vegetation, influence of large subarctic lakes and changes in their water levels, climate change impacts on subarctic lakes and archaeology. Past research has focused on regional ecosystem dynamics, specifically on the response of the forest to disturbances such as fire and insect outbreaks, tree ring analysis, vegetation and biodiversity, periglacial processes, secular variations in water levels, and hydrology. Other research topics have covered limnology of the two basins, geological and geomorphological history, and biophysical features of the area. Wildlife studies (birds, caribou, small mammals, fish, and biting insects) have also been conducted, as well as archeological studies (recently).

Climatic and
data :  
CEN has been measuring climate in the area since 1995 and currently operates three meteorological stations from the SILA Network in and around the western basin of the lake. A climate station, in operation since 1986, is located on a small island in the centre of the basin and two other stations are located around the lake (measured environmental variables).
Nordicana-D :  

CEN's Nordicana-D series freely and openly give access to online climatic and environmental data reports archived at CEN, aiding the management of the wealth of environmental data sets produced by CEN's monitoring and research activities. Visit the Website www.cen.ulaval.ca/nordicanad/ to view the complete list of available data.


This station is part of the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators (CNNRO, www.cnnro.ca) and the international network INTERACT (www.eu-interact.org).

Institution Université Laval
Country Canada
Infrastructure type Research station
Disciplines History and archaeology
Biology and biochemistry
Environmental sciences
Earth sciences
Natural environments and wildlife
Language of operation Inuktitut
Keywords paleoclimateecological changeclimate changebiodiversityaquatic habitats


The research station is available to all researchers (university, college, governmental and private) conducting research in the area. The station can also accommodate small groups of students wishing to undertake training in the North. 

Availability: Contact the station manager to make a reservation. 

Cost: Rate packages are available depending depending on the needs of the researchers.

Contact information

Contact the CEN station manager and secretariat by email : station@cen.ulaval.ca and cen@cen.ulaval.ca, or by telephone : +1-819-929-3319 or +1-418-656-3340

Nunavik Parks: http://www.nunavikparks.ca/en/parks/tursujuq

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