Climate Change and Hazards Associated with Ice Use in Northern Canada

James Ford, Tristan Pearce, Justin Gilligan, Barry Smit, and Jill Oakes
Posted on: 1/30/2008 - Updated on: 3/06/2020

Posted by

Jessi Kershner



Research conducted with the communities of Igloolik, Ulukhaktok, and Churchill in northern Canada documents increasing exposure to hazards associated with ice use for hunting and travel. This trend is related to changing ice conditions. Instrumental records show later ice freeze-up and earlier breakup since the late 1970s, increasing temperatures, and changes in weather in the case study communities. Elders and mature community members, drawing upon their traditional knowledge, describe similar changes in ice and other climate-related conditions in recent years. These changes are increasing the risks of utilizing the ice for hunting and travel and they are reducing access to traditional food. Change in risk-taking behavior among users of the ice has also been documented in Igloolik and Ulukhaktok over the last few decades and has shaped the implications of more recent changes in ice conditions. Comparison between the communities reveals uneven consequences of changing ice conditions which is linked to the nature of ice use, local physiological setting, and community socio-cultural dynamics.


Ford, J., Pearce, T., Gilligan, J., Smit, B., & Oakes, J. (2008). Climate change and hazards associated with ice use in northern Canada. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 647-659. Retrieved from CAKE

Affiliated Organizations

ArcticNorth Consulting was established by James Ford (PhD) and Tristan Pearce (PhD) to assist communities, businesses, and industry adapt to a changing climate. Dr. James Ford and Tristan Pearce are award winning scientists with extensive experience working with communities, governments, NGOs, and First Nations Groups across Canada and internationally on climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. Their work has been disseminated in scholarly journals, books, policy reports, and major international publications (e.g. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report).