Title Implications of climate change for northern Canada; the physical environment
Author Prowse, T.D.; Furgal, C.; Melling, H.; Smith, S.L.
Author Affil Prowse, T.D., University of Victoria, Department of Geography, Victoria, BC, Canada. Other: Trent University, Canada; Trent University, Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canada; Geological Survey of Canada, Canada
Source Climate impacts on northern Canada, edited by T.D. Prowse and C. Furgal. Ambio, 38(5), p.266-271, . Publisher: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden. ISSN: 0044- 7447
Publication Date July 2009
Notes In English. 78 refs. GeoRef Acc. No: 309894
Index Terms active layer; precipitation (meteorology); climatic change; ecology; ecosystems; glacial geology; glaciers; glacial hydrology; global change; global warming; hydrology; ice; ice sheets; permafrost; permafrost hydrology; snow; Arctic Ocean; Canada; arctic environment; atmospheric precipitation; climate change; cryosphere; discharge; fresh-water environment; ice caps; northern Canada; rivers and streams; sea ice; sea-level changes
Abstract The physical environment of the Canadian North is particularly sensitive to changes in climate because of a large concentration of cryospheric elements including both seasonal and multiyear forms of freshwater and sea ice, permafrost, snow, glaciers, and small ice caps. Because the cryosphere responds directly to changes in air temperature and precipitation, it is a primary indicator of the effects of climate variability and change. This article reviews the major changes that have occurred in the recent historical record of these cryospheric components at high latitudes in Canada. Some changes have been less pronounced in the Canadian North than elsewhere, such as changes in sea-ice coverage, whereas others have been potentially more significant, such as ablation of the extensive alpine and high- Arctic small glaciers and ice caps. Projections of future changes are also reviewed for each cryospheric component. Discussion about two other physical components of the North intrinsically linked to the cryosphere is also included, specifically: i) freshwater discharge to the Arctic Ocean via major river networks that are fed primarily by various forms of snow and ice, and ii) the related rise in sea level, which is strongly influenced by ablation of the cryosphere, and coastal stability, which also depends on the thermal integrity of coastal permafrost.
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 65006917