ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting Winnipeg-Canada December 5-9, 2016


ArcticNet host its 12th Annual Scientific Meeting from 5 to 9 December 2016 at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The ASM2016 will welcome researchers, students, Inuit, Northerners, policymakers, and stakeholders to address the numerous environmental, social, economical and political challenges and opportunities that are emerging from climate change and modernization in the Arctic.

As the largest annual Arctic research gathering held in Canada, ArcticNet’s ASM is the ideal venue to showcase results from all fields of Arctic research, stimulate discussion and foster collaborations among those with a vested interest in the Arctic and its peoples.

Nathan’s Role: Poster Presentation of his Postdoctoral research Proposal in McGill University:



Debortoli, Nathan, J. Sayles, D. Clark and J. Ford

McGill University (Montreal, Canada)

North to south, east to west, governments around the world are trying to assess their vulnerability to climatic change and extreme weather events. Assessments often take one of two forms. Regional and national level assessments provide coarse-grained quantitative information about large regions, which is of limited use to decision-makers in local communities. Local community assessments often rely on nuanced qualitative and mixed-methods data, which can be difficult to scale-up. There is currently a real lack of locally relevant regional vulnerability assessments. This is concerning because while adaptation must be locally relevant, it must also take regional contexts into account, including interdependencies among and between local and regional groups. To address this, we are developing an integrative, multilevel vulnerability assessment in the Canadian Arctic that can support integrated local-to-regional planning. While sparsely populated, the Canadian Arctic is home to both Inuit and other Canadians, many of whom rely directly or indirectly on land-based activities for their livelihood. Environmental changes, however, such as temperatures changes, permafrost thaw, storm surges, and loss of sea ice are greatly impacting resource-dependent livelihoods. While previous research provides a comprehensive picture of climate-related vulnerabilities among these communities, few studies have fostered an integrated framework to map and assess the totality of vulnerability to natural hazards and climatic change scenarios. We present a first step in developing a Canadian Arctic Vulnerability Index to assess resource-dependent communities’ vulnerability to climatic change including a baseline scenario and future projections. We modify an existing framework and methodology used in the Brazilian National Vulnerability Assessment. We then assess 1) what indicators are available at local, regional and federal level in the Arctic, 2) their feasibility for inclusion in the model, and 3) their importance for local communities. Our work will downscale weather data from Global Climate Models to regional and local levels to understand local changes on wind speed and direction, temperature, precipitation, permafrost thaw, and sea ice extent. Other indicators include, but are not limited to, income, access to technologies such as snow machines and GPS, housing quality and quantity, education, mental health, wider economic activities and opportunities, and built infrastructure. We also consider intercommunity collaborations, search and rescue activities, and collaborations among and between local, provincial, and federal agencies as well as between public and private sectors. Our aim is to assess present and future vulnerabilities to climate changes in an integrative way that can assist local, province, and federal governments to target adaptation measures in hotspots areas.

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