Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory (CBAWO), Melville Island

Water is crucial for northern communities and ecosystems and plays a vital role, in conjunction with climate and permafrost, in the morphology and stability of arctic landscapes. To determine the impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems and freshwater quality and availability in the High Arctic, we created a water-shed and landscape ecosystem observation network.

The research is conducted primarily at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory on Melville Island, near the Nunavut/NWT border, with additional work at Polar Bear Pass on Bathurst Island.

Research at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory will investigate how climate change will affect rivers, permafrost, soils, vegetation, greenhouse gas emissions and the release of contaminants into High Arctic rivers and lakes.

Our integrated watershed network will provide an unprecedented understanding of the sensitivity and anticipated future effects of climate change to the High Arctic water, permafrost and ecosystem.

By closely integrating related water and ecosystem process studies, this project is trying to identify key environmental and societal vulnerabilities. Our goal is to develop impact models to assess linkages between anticipated environmental change and possible adaptations by communities and government agencies (clean water supply and ecological integrity) and industry (resource extraction, infrastructure protection).

Study site locations

Cape Bounty, Melville Island: 74°50’N, 109°30’W

Polar Bear Pass, Bathurst Island: 75°40’N, 98°30’N

Local collaborations

Resolute community members

Qarmartalik School

Project contact information:

Scott Lamoureux
Associate Professor
Department of Geography
Queen’s University

Melissa Lafrenière
Assistant Professor
Department of Geography
Queen’s University

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