, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp 808–822 | Cite as

Mapping Human Dimensions of Climate Change Research in the Canadian Arctic

  • James D. FordEmail author
  • Kenyon Bolton
  • Jamal Shirley
  • Tristan Pearce
  • Martin Tremblay
  • Michael Westlake
Review Paper


This study maps current understanding and research trends on the human dimensions of climate change (HDCC) in the eastern and central Canadian Arctic. Developing a systematic literature review methodology, 117 peer reviewed articles are identified and examined using quantitative and qualitative methods. The research highlights the rapid expansion of HDCC studies over the last decade. Early scholarship was dominated by work documenting Inuit observations of climate change, with research employing vulnerability concepts and terminology now common. Adaptation studies which seek to identify and evaluate opportunities to reduce vulnerability to climate change and take advantage of new opportunities remain in their infancy. Over the last 5 years there has been an increase social science-led research, with many studies employing key principles of community-based research. We currently have baseline understanding of climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in the region, but key gaps are evident. Future research needs to target significant geographic disparities in understanding, consider risks and opportunities posed by climate change outside of the subsistence hunting sector, complement case study research with regional analyses, and focus on identifying and characterizing sustainable and feasible adaptation interventions.


Climate change Arctic Inuit Systematic review Human dimensions 



This research was supported by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Program, ArcticNet, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Nasivvik Centre for Inuit health and Changing Environments, the National Inuit Climate Change Committee (NICC), and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed valuable input and supportover the course of this project. Specifically, Dr Scot Nickels, Martin Lougheed, Carrie Grable, and Eric Loring at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatmi; Dr. Trevor Bell and Philippe LeBlanc at Memorial University; Members of the National Inuit Climate Change Committee (NICCC), including Barrie Ford at the Makivik Corporation, John Keogak at the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Andrew Dunford at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and Tom Sheldon at the Nunatsiavut Government; Mary Ellen Thomas at the Nunavut Arctic College; John Lampe at the Nunatsiavut Government; April Colosimo, Jim Henderson, Maggie Knight, Tara Mawhinney, Will Vanderbilt, and Michelle Maillet at McGill University; Dr. Shari Gearheard atthe University of Colorado, Boulder; Jennifer Johnston at the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation; Dr. Gita Laidler, Carleton University; Froeydis Reinhart at the Government of Nunavut;Ross Goodwin at the Arctic and Science Technology Information System (ASTIS); and Amanda Caron at Arctic North Consulting.

Supplementary material

13280_2012_336_MOESM1_ESM.docx (232 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 231 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. Ford
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenyon Bolton
    • 1
  • Jamal Shirley
    • 2
  • Tristan Pearce
    • 3
  • Martin Tremblay
    • 4
  • Michael Westlake
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of GeographyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Nunavut Research InstituteIqaluitCanada
  3. 3.Department of GeographyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  4. 4.Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development CanadaGatineauCanada

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