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TitleUnderstanding the past enviromental response to cyclic climate phenomena in the Northwest Terroritories Canada
AuthorMacumber, A L; Patterson, R T; Galloway, J; Falck, H; Swindles, G T; Crann, C; Neville, L A
SourceInterional Paleolimnology Symposium, abstracts; 2012 p. 1
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20120234
Meeting12th International Paleolimnology Symposium; Glasgow; UK; August 21-24, 2012
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
NTS85I; 85P; 76D; 76E; 75M
AreaTibbitt Lake; Contwoyto Lake
Lat/Long WENS-114.0000 -109.0000 65.5000 62.2500
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; climate effects; climate; climatic fluctuations; climate, arctic; permafrost; climate change; Cenozoic; Quaternary
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience, environmental impacts and adaptation in the northern environment
AbstractThe Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, the world's longest heavy haul ice road, is the critical link in the supply chain servicing remote northern mining operations, upon which the Northwest Territories' economy depends.
The unusually mild and stormy conditions during the winter of 2006 were associated with an El Niño/Southern Oscillation event. Road operations were significantly reduced resulting in subsequent financial losses, and factored in the closure of one mining venture. Since growth in truck traffic is needed to supply the demands of new mining ventures, this cyclic climate phenomenon brought to the forefront the need to understand how the climate is modulated in this region and how the region responds to climate variability.
Sediment cores, from two lakes along the TCWR, were analyzed at the highest resolution (i.e. millimeter scale) and were coupled with well-developed age-depth models to identify the signals of cyclic climate phenomena preserved by grain size variations on decadal to multi-decadal scale. Analysis of grain size variations, a proxy of catchment erosional dynamics, was successful in identifying several cyclic climate phenomena which impact this region.
Coupling grain size analysis with a biotic proxy (i.e. arcellaceans) enables us to reconstruct the region's environmental response to past climate variability. Our survey of contemporary lakes confirms that arcellaceans are sensitive to changes associated with latitudinal change. Our results provide policy planners and climate modellers with essential information needed to understand how the climate is modulated in this region (i.e. cyclic climate phenomena) and how the region responds to climate variability.