Baffin Island residents watch for rubber ducks in NASA study

Fishing crews, pilots and residents of eastern Baffin Island are being asked to watch for rubber duckies — not bobbing in their bathtubs, but drifting in the Davis Strait as part of a NASA study on climate change.

Scientists will gather data from toys' movements off melting Greenland glacier

Fishing crews, pilots and residents of eastern Baffin Island are being asked to watch for rubber duckies — not bobbing in their bathtubs, but drifting in the Davis Strait as part of a NASA study on climate change.

Scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's jet propulsion laboratory have placed 90 rubber ducks in the Jakobshavn Glacier near Ilulissat in western Greenland.

The researchers hope to track the toy ducks' journey away from the moving, melting glacier. They're asking for help from Nunavummiut, who they believe will eventually start seeing the ducks floating in Baffin Bay.

"Just send us an e-mail with the subject 'Found rubber duck, please contact,' and we'd be very happy to get those," NASA researcher Alberto Behar told CBC News on Wednesday.

Behar said his team has written its e-mail address on the rubber ducks, as well as the word "reward" in three languages, including the Inuit language.

The reward: $100 US for the first person to find a rubber duck, and smaller monetary prices — to be determined — for those who find subsequent ducks, Behar said.

"It is funny to me," said David Alexander of the Baffin Fisheries Coalition, which currently has five vessels fishing in the Davis Strait.

Alexander said it's the first time he's heard of NASA's rubber ducky experiment, and he'd like to know more about it. In the meantime, he said he'll let his crews know they might come across toy ducks in the water.

"We'll be able to inform all the boats that we're working with," he said.

The Jakobshavn glacier is one of the fastest-moving glaciers in the world, releasing almost seven per cent of the ice coming off Greenland.

Behar said he wants to know how meltwater moves in and under the glacier, and how it acceleratres its movement in the ocean every summer.