The secret weather station

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**** Info via Environment Canada

The secret weather station

The weather forecast above the cold waters of the Atlantic was crucial in the Second World War (WWII) for it determined the conditions, and chances of success, of many military operations. The Allies had an upper hand in the so-called “North Atlantic weather war”, as prevailing weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere generally move from west to east. During WWII, this meant that a weather station in Canada could observe a particular weather event and then pass that information on to British meteorologists on the other side of the Atlantic. Thus, the Canadians could tell the Allies what kind of weather was on its way to Europe.

German scientists, in desperate need of this weather information, decided to try to establish a secret weather-observing network on the North American continent. They decided that a prototype automatic weather station would first be installed just off Martin Bay on Killiniq Island, a remote area of the Labrador Peninsula in October 1943. The timing of this mission was critical; inlets would freeze over with the coming winter making it all the more unlikely, the scientists hoped, that Canadian authorities would eitherl ocate or dismantle the station.

On the morning of October 22 1943, after a dangerous month long submarine crossing of the North Atlantic, German scientists unloaded the weather station on land and started to assemble and install it as quickly as possible. The station – codenamed Kurt – was marked with a logo and a name of a non-existing company – Canadian Meteor Service – and empty American cigarette packs were scattered around to further disguise its identity!

The station remained undiscovered until 1977, when a geomorphologist, conducting research near Martin Bay, stumbled upon the “Kurt” weather station. He thought it was some kind of Canadian military outpost and just marked it “Martin Bay 7” on a map he kept during research. He notified the Canadian Ministry of Defense and finally, in 1981, weather station Kurt was officially discovered, standing on the same spot where the German crew left it – 38 years ago.

Weather station Kurt has since been dismantled and now stands in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, where it remains on display to this day.





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