This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.

Science & Tech

Climate change study cancelled due to climate change

A northern research expedition has been postponed until July due to unusually hazardous ice conditions

  • Jun 15, 2017
  • 279 words
  • 2 minutes
Expand Image
Advertisement

A much-anticipated, $17 million study on the effects of climate change in the Arctic has been partly cancelled due to, well, the effects of climate change. 

Timing was crucial for the four-year Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys), which involved 40 scientists from across Canada and seeks to understand the mixed impacts of freshwater regulation and climate change in Hudson Bay. The University of Manitoba-led expedition was scheduled to launch from aboard the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen. But when unusually severe ice conditions floated southward into the Strait of Belle Isle and along the northeast coast of Newfoundland, the Canadian Coast Guard (which operates the icebreaker) had to keep the ship in area for critical search and rescue operations. The extra time spent in the south meant the ship would arrive in Hudson Bay too late to meet research objectives, and the first leg of the 2017 expedition was cancelled. The second leg is set to begin on July 6.

“A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved,” says David Barber, expedition chief scientist and BaySys scientific lead. “The challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the CCG, and science.” 

The warming climate has caused Arctic sea ice to become increasingly thin and sparse, meaning strong winds can easily push it south at this time of year. 

But it’s not all bad news: Barber and the rest of the Sea Ice Research Team were able to use the scientific equipment already aboard the Amundsen to collect data on the physics of the ice, ocean and atmosphere in the area. This information will help scientists understand what happened and make Canada better prepared for climate change-driven increases in marine ice hazards.

Advertisement

Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

People & Culture

On thin ice: Who “owns” the Arctic?

As the climate heats up, so do talks over land ownership in the Arctic. What does Canadian Arctic Sovereignty look like as the ice melts?

  • 4353 words
  • 18 minutes
leather sea stars

Environment

“We did this:” Is there a way out of our intertwined climate and biodiversity crises?

As the impacts of global warming become increasingly evident, the connections to biodiversity loss are hard to ignore. Can this fall’s two key international climate conferences point us to a nature-positive future?

  • 5595 words
  • 23 minutes
Arctic Frontiers conference 2019

Environment

Five key takeaways from the Arctic Frontiers conference

The uncertainty and change that's currently disrupting the region dominated the annual meeting's agenda

  • 2651 words
  • 11 minutes

History

Cancelled but not forgotten: The 50th anniversary of the Arctic Winter Games

Games were started in 1970 to give northern athletes more opportunities for training and competition

  • 667 words
  • 3 minutes