Preparing for an Arctic in Transition
Every month there are numerous media stories about the state of Arctic sea ice and impending changes to the ecosystem, people and economic development of the North. Why is the sea ice declining, and what impact will this have on the ecosystem? Should Canada prepare for increased resource development in the Arctic and routine shipping along the Northwest Passage? How should Canada respond to increased international interest in the region threatening sovereignty?
Dr. Christian Haas, Canada Research Chair in Arctic Sea Ice Geophysics, is examining the underlying reasons for the recent rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice, and its consequences for the Arctic climate system and ecosystem—for northerners and for access to resources and shipping routes. He is also addressing the role of changes in winds and ice drift, as well as variations in atmospheric radiation, ocean salinity and atmospheric and ocean temperatures, on ice thickness.
Haas is developing a thorough understanding of the reasons for the recent Arctic sea ice decline in order to help predict future scenarios and identify links to possible human-induced causes of climate change.
He is using airborne and ground-based field campaigns, satellite remote sensing and numerical modelling to obtain ice information. This important information will be used for safe and environmentally responsible resource exploration and extraction, shipping, and over-ice travel.
Haas’ research will contribute unique information on ice thickness. This information which is extremely important for safe ice usage and for the design and regulation of offshore structures and ships.