The proposed Churchill Marine Observatory (CMO) is envisaged as an innovative Arctic marine observatory and technology incubation centre, allowing direct, comprehensive observation of a complex natural eco-system and delivering cutting edge research of environmental variability. CMO is designed to build upon the exceedingly successful execution of the Sea-ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF) on the U of M campus. This new laboratory facility will use ambient Arctic conditions and natural seawater to grow and test sea ice that has been impacted by oil, liquefied natural gas, or other contaminants. CMO will be the only fully integrated facility of its kind in the Arctic. It will incorporate simultaneous ocean, estuary, and atmospheric observation and contaminant platforms designed to study the Ocean-Sea Ice-Mesocosm (OSIM).
Overall, the CMO will accommodate approximately 15-20 researchers, technicians, and university students who will all be actively involved in set-up and maintenance of instruments, collecting and analyzing samples from the OSIM tanks, and a variety of other research pursuits. The OSIM tanks are a central component of the CMO. Comprised of 2- 30' x 30' x 10’ cast-in-place concrete tanks, with 2 moon pools attached to allow for instrumentation and diver access. A pool level deck surrounds the tanks and provides access from the 2 adjacent lab for Chemistry and Physics. The tanks are surrounded by a retractable fabric roof to allow for control over the freeze thaw environments such as wind and snow. The tanks will be filled by a future pipeline transporting water from the estuary into the tanks. The ability to use natural ocean water and recreate the arctic environment is a key component of this facility and how it differs from the U of M campus SERF facility. In addition to the 2 lab spaces, the OSIM tanks are supported by a large garage and logistics base, data acquisition room, and support spaces on the east side of the facility.
Prairie Architects worked with the CEOS team from initial study and concept design for the CIF funding application and were awarded the job for full design services in 2015.