Arctic Research

 Planning passage over thin sea ice, Baffin Island, Canadian Arctic

Planning passage over thin sea ice, Baffin Island, Canadian Arctic

Lead Researcher, Systematic review of climate change adaptation in the Arctic  

This study systematically assessed what is known about human adaptation to climate change in the Arctic. It utilized formal systematic review methods to examine the peer-reviewed English language literature and provided a clear assessment of the current state of knowledge (e.g. adaptation where, by whom, to what stressors, by what means, and with what effect). The study contributes to an emerging literature tracking on-the-ground adaptation processes and outcomes, and helps to inform research/policy agendas for addressing key knowledge gaps. For example, study results were profiled at the UNESCO/Future Earth 'Our Common Future Under Climate Change Conference', a high-level lead-up meeting to COP 21 in Paris.

Related publications:

Ford, J., McDowell, G., Pearce, T. (2015) The adaptation challenge in the Arctic. Nature Climate Change. 5: 1046-1053.  

Ford, J., McDowell, G. Jones, J. (2014). The state of climate change adaptation in the Arctic. Environmental Research Letters. 9: 104005-104014.

Lead Researcher, The socio-ecological dimensions of hydrocarbon development in Greenland       

This project examined issues emerging from the interaction of hydrocarbon development activities, existing socio-ecological conditions, and concurrent processes of social and climatic change in the Disko Bay region of western Greenland. It identified socio-economic development opportunities, risks of environmental degradation and social disruption, and tradeoffs between known lifeways and new livelihood prospects as well as strategies for improving hydrocarbon governance.

Related publications:

McDowell, G. and Ford, J. (2014). The socio-ecological dimensions of hydrocarbon development in the Disko Bay region of Greenland: Opportunities, risks, and tradeoffs. Applied Geography 46: 98-110.

Lead Researcher, Iqaluit land-use mapping project (ILMP)                                                                

This project developed novel ways to integrate scientific and local/indigenous knowledge to demonstrate the changing adaptive capacity and vulnerability of Inuit hunters to climate change. I conducted numerous multi-week trips to Baffin Island (Canadian Arctic) where I traveled with Inuit hunters, documented changes in Arctic ecology and emerging land-use hazards (and their implications), and met with local stakeholders to identify culturally appropriate vulnerability reducing interventions.

Related publications:

Ford, J., McDowell, G., Shirley, J., et al. (2013) The dynamic multi-scale nature of climate change vulnerability: An Inuit harvesting example. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 103: 1193-1211.

Ford, J., … McDowell, G. et al. (2015) Community-based adaptation research in the Arctic. WIREs Climate Change. doi: 10.1002/wcc376.

Research Liaison, Inuit food systems: vulnerability and adaptation to climatic extremes                    

I facilitated the development and on-the-ground initiation of this community-based research project, which examined wildlife change and Inuit food security in the context of Arctic climate extremes.