CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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Ever wonder how climate adaptation consultancies work? Here’s a case study by Ecology North, a small Canadian non-profit that helps communities with climate change issues. This study is of a small community called “Tsiigehtchic” located very north, near the Arctic.

I like this one in particular because river erosion threatens a historic site - a church. Thousands of sites like these are at risk from environmental harms such as fires, floods, and hurricanes. That’s pretty normal. But, vulnerability to such harms rises as the climate changes.

Tsiigehtchic is a small, traditional community located in the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada. Due to its northern location, climate change impacts such as melting permafrost and increased erosion are already being felt in Tsiigehtchic. In response, the Tsiigehtchic community partnered with Ecology North, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting sound environmental decision-making at individual, community, and regional levels, to develop a climate change adaptation plan.

Tsiigehtchic recently became concerned with climate change impacts when melting permafrost and bank erosion began to threaten a landmark church in the community. The community approached Ecology North about creating a climate change adaptation plan to help Tsiigehtchic enhance its community resilience and ability to adapt to changing climate conditions. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Adaptation and Impacts Research Division provided funding for the project.

Ecology North used climate scenarios (developed by the Canadian Climate Change Scenarios Network) to provide a picture of the future climate around Tsiigehtchic. These scenarios formed the basis for the development of key vulnerabilities and potential impacts in the community. Climate scenarios predict increases in annual temperatures, changes in precipitation (e.g., more snow in fall and winter), increased cloud cover, more open water in the Beaufort Sea and freshwater lakes, more extreme weather events (e.g., strong winds, floods, droughts), and increased numbers of thunderstorms with hotter, wetter weather in the summer.

See the full case study and climate adaptation plan at CAKE