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TitleThe Canadian Water Resource Vulnerability Index to Permafrost Loss (CWRVIPL)
AuthorSpence, C; Norris, M; Bickerton, G; Bonsal, B R; Brua, R; Culp, J M; Dibike, Y; Gruber, S; Morse, P DORCID logo; Peters, D L; Shrestha, R; Wolfe, S AORCID logo
SourceArctic Science vol. 6, no. 4, 2020 p. 437-462, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20190271
PublisherCanadian Science Publishing
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
ProvinceNunavut; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Quebec; Newfoundland and Labrador; British Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario
NTS3; 13; 14; 15; 16; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
AreaCanadian Arctic Archipelago; Mackenzie River Delta
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -58.0000 84.0000 50.0000
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
Subjectshydrogeology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; surface waters; groundwater; permafrost; ground ice; periglacial features; thermokarst; climate effects; mapping techniques; environmental impacts; Canadian Water Resources Vulnerability Index to Permafrost Thaw (CWRVIPT); Hudson Bay Lowlands; permafrost thaw; Climate change; cumulative effects; Indexes; Risk management; Northern Canada
Illustrationsflow diagrams; tables; geoscientific sketch maps
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience Permafrost
Released2020 05 20
AbstractThis study developed and applied a framework for assessing the vulnerability of pan-Canadian water resources to permafrost thaw. The national-scale work addresses a key, but neglected, information gap, as previous research has focused on small scale physical processes and circumpolar trends. The framework was applied to develop the Canadian Water Resources Vulnerability Index to Permafrost Thaw (CWRVIPT) and map the index across the Canadian North. The CWRVIPT is a linearly additive index of permafrost, terrain, disturbance, and climatic conditions and stressors that influence water budgets and aquatic chemistry. Initial results imply water resources in the western Northwest Territories and Hudson Bay Lowlands are most vulnerable to permafrost thaw; however, water resources on Banks, Victoria and Baffin Islands are also relatively vulnerable. Although terrain and permafrost sub-indices are the largest component of the CWRVIPT across a wide swath from the Mackenzie River Delta to the Hudson Bay Lowlands, the climate sub-index is most important farther north over parts of the southern portion of the Arctic Archipelago. The index can be used to identify areas of water resource vulnerability on which to focus observation and research in the Canadian North.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Permafrost loss is occurring pervasive across northern circumpolar regions. This loss has profound impacts on water resources, but the response of hydrological systems across large swaths of land remains largely unknown. This study develops and applies a framework for assessing vulnerability of pan-Canadian water resources to permafrost loss. This involves the development of an index and mapping the results across the Canadian North. The index identifies areas of water resource vulnerability on which to focus and encourage ongoing observation and research in the Canadian North.

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