Snapshots of climate change in the Arctic

Canada’s North is on the front lines of climate change. People are seeing the impacts of climate change in many ways, on the land and in their communities. In a photo contest run by Ecology North, a non-profit environmental group in Yellowknife, NWT, residents submitted images and descriptions of climate change in their community. Ecology North has graciously allowed the CYD to share them with you. (All photos are property of Ecology North).

I live in Deline, NT.  You can see what is wrong with this picture. It is November and our ice still hasn’t frozen on Great Bear Lake.  Last year at this time the ice was completely frozen and we were already on the ice fishing but now we can’t go because it’s not frozen yet. Photo and text by Alfred Sewi.


Massive cement block’s line Tuktoyaktuk’s shoreline, keeping the community on the map in the face of higher seas. Photo and text by Jamie Bastedo.

The controversial unfinished bridge across the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence gleams in the sun as pieces of ice flow by.  Ground transportation to communities north of the river is inhibited twice a year while waiting for consistently cold weather to construct an ice bridge in winter and sufficient melting for ferry use in the spring. Last winter, the ice bridge was operable from Jan 4 – April 18, 2010.  The new Deh Cho bridge may be an answer to allow for more consistent transportation, especially if seasonal average temperatures rises due to climate change. Photo and text by Kerry Wheler.

Pronounced thermal slumping due to the melting of underlying permafrost – a tangible expression of arctic climate change, Kittigazuit Bay at the mouth of the Mackenzie Delta.  As we paddled by this major thaw-slope, we could literally hear it falling apart. Photo and text by Jamie Bastedo.

Due to the early spring, the shore leads prevented skiers from getting on to the ice. This person waded past the shallow water for one last ski on the ice. Photo and text by Steve Schwarz.


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