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Global Environmental Change Group


The Arctic is undergoing rapid changes, both physically and in terms of social and economic conditions. Much research has documented changes in Arctic ice, oceans and ecosystems; our work focuses on the ways in which Arctic communities are being affected by changing conditions and identifying adaptation options.

Since 2004, we have been collaborating with Inuit organizations (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Inuit Circumpolar Council) and territorial agencies (for example, Nunavut Research Institute and Aurora Research Institute) to provide insights into implications of climate change adaptation for livelihoods and policy. Initially funded by SSHRC and ArcticNet, our Arctic Program has also been supported through Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation Program, the Northern Scientific Training Program, SSHRC’s Northern Research Development Program, and International Polar Year Canada.

Among the distinctive features of our Arctic program is the integration of natural and social sciences, our engagement of northern people, the documentation of past and present conditions and the assessment of the future, and the explicit connection to decision making and policy. Our research is part of the ArcticNet NCE, with responsibility for the project: "Adaptation in a Changing Arctic: Ecosystem Services, Communities and Policy".

We are co-leading the International Polar Year (IPY) project Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Arctic Regions (CAVIAR) with Dr. Grete Hovelsrud of CICERO, Norway. CAVIAR involves all eight Arctic nations, and we directly manage the Canadian network under the sponsorship of IPY Canada, conducting case studies of community vulnerability and adaptation in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Nunatsiavut, Yukon, and Ontario.

Please visit our Study Sites section to read about Arctic research undertaken by our core team. To date, these study sites include Hopedale, Arctic Bay, Igloolik, Ulukhaktok, and Tuktoyaktuk.

Some of the accomplishments of our Arctic research are summarized in Ford and Smit (2004), Ford et al. (2006), Ford et al. (2008). Visit our Publications section to find the full references for these, and other, publications.