|Résumé||(disponible en anglais seulement)|
Northern communities, generally located on permafrost landscapes in coastal environments, are subjected to harsh climates, with strong seasonal contrasts in
temperature, wind and precipitation. These climate cycles also drive seasonal changes in the landscape, creating instability and hazards. For example, rapid snowmelt on frozen ground may cause flooding; saturated, non-frozen ground may fail on
moderate to steep slopes causing landslides; thawing of ice-rich permafrost results in ground subsidence; and sea-ice free coasts permit increased wave energy, producing coastal flooding and shoreline migration. Future climate scenarios predict
changes in climate variables that may increase landscape instability and hazard risk. Effective planning and adaptation strategies require improved understanding of landscape sensitivity to predict future impacts under various climate-change
Integrated Assessment of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Options in Nunavut Communities is a project co-managed by the Government of Nunavut (GN) and Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with Memorial University of
Newfoundland, the Canadian Institute of Planners, and the Canada Nunavut Geoscience Office. It strives to integrate traditional knowledge, community decision makers, and scientific research on climate change impacts to improve community planning
capacity and develop a Nunavut Adaptation Plan. It builds on the Adaptation Action in Arctic Communities workshop (Iqaluit, December 2006), and initially field activities are focused in Clyde River, Iqaluit and Hall Beach.
The focus of this
presentation is the assessment of landscape hazards. This involves the categorization of landscape conditions representing a risk, determining how these might change in the future (particularly though not exclusively through climate change), and
assessing the capacity of the community to adapt to these changing conditions. Clyde River (Kangiktugaapik - meaning nice little inlet), situated on eastern Baffin Island, Nunavut, is used as a case study.
A hazard classification map of
Clyde River, incorporating both the level of exposure (risk) to landscape hazards and the adaptive capacity of the community, is being constructed. The map will be a multilayer GIS, displaying information on various themes. Surficial geology (e.g.,
bedrock, colluvium, raised marine sediment, moraines) is one theme layer. Other layers will include location and characteristics of infrastructure, culturally significant areas, proposed developments, sensitive terrain (e.g., Holocene marine
sediments, areas of high ice content), periglacial features and historical landscape changes (e.g., slope retreat, coastline migration). Data will be extracted from field observations, discussions with community members, Quickbird satellite imagery,
and aerial photographs of different scale and age. Through this interactive map, the link between geology, surficial material and landscape stability can be investigated; it should permit the identification of areas most sensitive to surface
disruption that represent potential future hazards. Integration of the final GIS with community technological and social adaptive strategies will help guide future community planning and adaptation policies.