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TitleClimate change and Canada's north coast: Research trends, progress, and future directions
AuthorFord, J D; Couture, N J; Bell, T; Clark, D G
SourceEnvironmental Reviews vol. 26, no. 1, 2018 p. 82-92, https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2017-0027
Year2018
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20170112
PublisherNRC Research Press
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNorthern offshore region; Nunavut; Yukon; Northwest Territories
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; miscellaneous; climate effects; climate, arctic; climate; coastal management; coastal environment; coastal studies; permafrost; economics; adaptation; impacts; vulnerability
ProgramCoastal Infrastructure, Climate Change Geoscience
AbstractThis paper identifies and characterizes current knowledge on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV) for Canada's north coast, outlining key research gaps. Warming temperatures and increased precipitation have been documented across the northern coastline, with the rate of sea ice decline ranging from 2.9% to 10.4% per decade. Storm intensity and frequency is increasing, and permafrost is warming across the region. Many of these changes are projected to accelerate in the future, with up to 8°C warming in winter possible under a high-emission scenario by 2070-2100. Vulnerability to these changes differs by region and community, a function of geographic location, nature of climate change impacts, and human factors. Capacity to manage climate change is high in some sectors, such as subsistence harvesting, but is being undermined by long-term societal changes. In other sectors, such as infrastructure and transportation, limitations in climate risk-management capacity result in continuing high vulnerabilities. There is evidence that adaptation is taking place in response to experienced and projected impacts, although barriers to adaptation have been identified including limited resources, institutional capacity, and lack of high level political leadership. Priority areas for future research include: expanding the sectorial and geographic focus of understanding on IAV, integrating climatic and socio-economic projections into vulnerability and adaptation assessments, developing an evidence base on adaptation options, and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of adaptation support. Cross-cutting themes for advancing IAV research on the north coast more broadly include the need for greater emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and cross-cultural collaborations, support for decision-orientated research, and focus on effective knowledge mobilization.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This paper describes what we know about climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV) along Canada's northern coasts. Warming temperatures and increased precipitation have been documented across the north. Sea ice is decreasing, the intensity and frequency of storms are increasing, and permafrost is warming across the region. Many of these changes are projected to accelerate in the future. Vulnerability to these changes differs by region and community. The capacity to deal with the changes is high in some sectors such as subsistence harvesting, but lower in others such as infrastructure and transportation. Some adaptation to these impacts is already taking place, but there are challenges due to limited resources, institutional capacity, and in some cases, political leadership. Future research possibilities could include improving our understanding of vulnerability and adaptation options, and monitoring and evaluating how well adaptation options work.
GEOSCAN ID302769