News: Climate Change Research

Communities across Northern Canada are witnessing first-hand the devastating impacts a changing climate is having across Arctic ecosystems. Livelihoods, Indigenous culture, social relations, food security, health, well-being      and a way of life, which have existed for generations are all being impacted.

Five Indigenous youth, including several Yukon high school students, will receive training and mentorship in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and Indigenous-led research approaches in partnership with researchers at the YukonU Research Centre this summer. 

WHITEHORSE, YT— A newly launched institute for climate policy research will have a Yukon connection. Brian Horton, Manager of Northern Climate ExChange at the Yukon Research Centre, has been named to the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices expert advisory panel for Climate Adaptation.   

The Institute, launched Tuesday morning, aims to bring clarity to Canada’s climate policy choices. The Institute’s initial report, Charting our Course, describes the current climate landscape in Canada and provides recommendations for policy makers and governments seeking to implement more effective policy.  

Yukon raised Nina Vogt, research assistant with Northern Climate Exchange at Yukon College has just been awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award in Northern Research.


Photo cred: The team starting their field work. From left to right: Andreas Richter, Peter Charlie, George Tanski, Louis-Philippe Roy, Jöelle Voglimacci-Stéphanopoli and Vincent Sasseville

Louis-Philippe Roy stands at the edge of the Arctic Ocean on the northernmost edge of Yukon, Canada. The untrained eye may see only an expanse of ice and snow, broken by a few muskoxen. Yet, Louis-Philippe knows the ground below him is unstable—thawing at an alarming rate. Where he stands, the coastline of Qikiqtaruk or Herschel Island, is falling into the sea. Permafrost, the frozen ground that has served as the island’s foundation for millennia is thawing, taking cultural history with it.

WHITEHORSE--Climate change affects the North more than any other part of Canada and threatens the efficiency, safety and reliability of northern transportation. Making our northern transportation system more resilient to the effects of climate is important given the key role transportation plays in the region’s social and economic development.

That is why the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon are investing in two important climate change adaptation research projects under the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative.

WHITEHORSE—Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC), the Northern Climate ExChange (NCE) at Yukon College and the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), a graduate school of the University of Quebec’s network, are partnering to study climate change impacts on the Mayo and Aishihik rivers in Yukon.

This three-year research project combines two grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) with funding from Yukon Energy. The total value of the project is close to $1-million with close to half of that in cash and in-kind support coming from the energy corporation.

WHITEHORSE— Sex sells, so we are told, and Yukon College’s Northern Climate ExChange (NCE) is hoping this holds true for science as much as advertising. 

Starting today, NCE is accepting submissions for a contest to find the best slogan to promote awareness of both climate change and safe sex.

Can’t see the connection? Maybe you’re not thinking hard enough. Just look to winners from the previous contest in 2011, including “Stop dangerous emissions” and “Forget your car. Let’s burn some real rubber.”

The winning slogans will be printed on condom wrappers and distributed throughout Yukon this fall.

“Addressing climate change and addressing unsafe sex – both involve adjusting our habits and behaviour to improve our personal health and the health of our communities,” said Holly Bull, Climate Change Research Assistant at NCE. “We hope this campaign and contest gets people talking and leads to positive change.”

WHITEHORSE— Not everyone reads a 20-page report on climate change with the same enthusiasm they reserve for a new Harry Potter book, but some do.

Meagan Grabowski, a researcher with the Northern Climate ExChange at Yukon College, wanted to know why.

With funding from the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Grabowski and her supervisor, Yukon College adjunct Doug Clark, spent the last year studying community uptake of climate change adaptation research in Yukon.

The pair will present their findings at an hour-long talk, beginning at the College at 10 a.m. on Friday Feb 3. The talk takes place in the North Boardroom at the Yukon Research Centre.

Grabowski’s research involved reviewing Climate Change Adaptation plans from Mayo, Whitehorse, Atlin, and a draft plan from Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.

University of Saskatchewan and Yukon College have been awarded a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant to make climate change research more relevant to northern indigenous communities. This research will combine the disciplines of both science and art to support community adaptation to climate change.

“This project brings together the Yukon School of Visual Arts, the Yukon Research Centre, and University of Saskatchewan’s Social Science Research Laboratory with northern communities to transform local knowledge and science into artistic interpretations of changing northern landscapes”, said Dr. Graham Strickert, Adjunct Faculty with Yukon College and Research Associate with the Global Institute for Water Security. “It is our hope that by combining science and art we will not only better engage with the community but we can creatively explore solutions to our changing climate.”