Terrestrial Systems

Current research projects (2019-2024)

Snow Changes Impacts on Kangiqsualujjuamiut (SCIK)

Modification of snow and ice conditions as a result of climate change is a significant concern of northern communities. Reduced snow season and change in snow and ice conditions will affect winter transportation as well as the cycling of contaminants that may accumulate in country food. A large part of Northern communities’ activities is closely tied to the snow and lake/river ice conditions, where travels are done in the winter season when the snow and lake ice allows safe and efficient transport by snowmobile across the tundra. Snow can also be an important reservoir of chemical components, such as mercury, that can be eventually released towards lakes and rivers at snowmelt. This reservoir can be affected by transport and community activity. However, the accumulation processes in the snow and the potential release of these components in the atmosphere throughout the winter season under a changing climate is not well known.

This collaborative project aims to improve the understanding of the impact of two important snow components for Kangiqsualujjuamiut: 1) winter transport and 2) snow chemical composition. It would include Inuit Knowledge to build more realistic snow model simulations, through semi-structured interviews, focus groups and field trips. The project includes the training of two community members to take snow measurements and gather snow samples in forest and non-forest environments that will be used for chemical composition analysis in the laboratory. The analysis will allow to quantify the evolution of chemicals in the snow in contrasting environments. We build on strong ties and mutual trust with the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq. This project will allow our team to engage further in local training, and improve science knowledge with Inuit Knowledge related to snow.