Marine Systems

Current research projects (2019-2024)

Weather and aajurait (lead) Monitoring for sea ice safety during the break-up season

The sinaa (floe edge) and aajurait (leads) are important spring hunting and tourism destinations for the communities of Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay) and Mittimtalik (Pond Inlet), Nunavut. However, these areas are also dangerous and prone to break-off events with a combination of wind, current, and temperature changes, or unexpected weather events. Break-off events are not well-understood or modelled using scientific methods, and changes in the Arctic climate are making assessment of travel safety on sea ice using Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit more challenging. Our project builds on existing SmartICE monitoring underway in each community, but is specifically targeted to address community concerns around predicting break-off events. We will bring together Inuit Elders, hunters, and youth, along with natural and social scientists, to learn from both Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and instrumental monitoring. Together, we aim to improve the predictive ability of landfast ice models, and support travel safety and decision-making. By establishing new observational systems for weather, current, and sinaa monitoring in each community, as well as workshops to interpret and assess model products, our project will evaluate the feasibility of this approach to support real-time decision-making for safe spring ice travel. Furthermore, project partner SmartICE will explore how such observational systems and landfast ice models may be relevant to other communities across its extensive monitoring network.