Climate Change

Research partnerships

The unique landscape, species and ecosystems in the Northwest Territories (NWT) provide incredible opportunities for researchers and universities to study and learn from the NWT environment. The speed and magnitude at which climate change is impacting the NWT makes it an important locale to study climate change.

Researchers from around Canada and the world are working with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to help develop the understanding of Canada’s Arctic, the Boreal forest ecosystem, the impacts of climate change on the Arctic and many other topics of research.

These projects provide a period-in-time snapshot of the amount and extent of research being undertaken in the NWT, specifically the research partnerships and projects examining the impacts and changes resulting from warming temperatures in northern Canada.

Some current research partnerships and projects

  • Research partnership with the Wilfred Laurier University, investigating, among other things: the impacts of changing snow conditions on caribou; the impact of warming temperatures on carbon dioxide and methane sequestering in muskeg; and the impact of climate warming on forest fire frequency and intensity.
  • University of Montreal project studying CO2 and CH4 gas fluxes between ground surfaces and atmosphere. Aqueous carbon fluxes with runoff. Rates and patterns of land-cover change (forest to wetland) resulting from permafrost thaw.
  • University of Montreal project developing environmental reconstructions of the Northwest Territories based on sediment cores.
  • University of Alberta project examining historic wildfire impacts on Northwest Territories ecosystems over the past 50 years.
  • University of Alberta project examining the impact of wildfires on the water quality of drainage systems and lakes.
  • University of Guelph project utilizing satellite and aerial remote sensing to monitor changes in soil moisture, vegetation, wildfire impacts and permafrost thaw throughout the Northwest Territories.
  • University of Western Canada project investigating the impacts of permafrost thaw on the cycling of methyl mercury in waterways.
  • Consortium for Permafrost Ecosystems in Transition (CPET), a group university researchers, governments, local community groups and industrial partners, are  address ingthe implications of climate-driven and industrial imposed changes to water resources in the southern NWT/northeastern BC border region by expanding scientific knowledge and data on environmental changes occurring in this region to accurately estimate future water availability under varied climate and industrial impact scenarios.

  • Environment and Natural Resources works closely with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey on important permafrost thaw slump research. This research is conducted in the northwestern portion of the NWT and investigates the cause and impacts of thaw slumps found in the Peel Plateau area.