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Instability of coastal landscapes in Arctic communities and regions

Seasonal changes in the northern landscape, together with extreme weather events, can create instability and hazards, including flooding, landslides, thaw failure and subsidence, coastal ice push, storm surges, and coastal erosion. Our project team is measuring both the drivers of change and the effects of instability in community landscapes at selected sites across the Arctic.

The study sites are chosen in part through consultation with Northern communities and partners and represent key sites for assessing coastal land-system vulnerability across a range of hazard exposures and sys-tem sensitivities.

Future climate scenarios and impacts modeling predict changes in climate variables that may increase coastal landscape instability and hazard risk.

Projecting the future response of the coastal land system to these changes forms another key objective of this ArcticNet project. Our goals are to produce predictions of the rate and degree of change to key environmental indicators expected under different climate change scenarios and to assess the vulnerabilities of coastal landscapes and community resources and infrastructure to such changes.

Together with northern communities and partners we plan to integrate local and external research and knowledge on climate change trends and impacts in order to provide a common basis for decision-making at all levels, thereby enhancing community adaptive capacity. Ultimately the goal is to promote informed choices of adaptation measures and enhanced resilience in northern coastal communities.

Study site locations

Arctic Bay, Arviat, Cambridge Bay, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Iqaluit, Kugluktuk, Pond Inlet, Resolute, Whale Cove.

Local collaborations

Examples include the Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park at Herschel Island YT, the Clyde River Community Research Committee (Ittaq and Ilisaqsivik Society), community decision-makers (elders, hunters and trappers, community councils) from Tuktoyaktuk to Gjoa Haven to Salluit to Nain and regional organizations and governments (e.g. Inuvialuit Joint Secretariat and Game Council, Nunavik Government, Nunatsiavut Government).

Project contact information

Don Forbes
Adjunct Professor
Memorial University of Newfoundland c/o Geological Survey of Canada
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Dartmouth, NS

Trevor Bell
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St-John’s, NL