Climate Change Adaptation Assessment for Transportation in Arctic Waters (CATAW) Scoping Study, Summary Report

Title: Climate Change Adaptation Assessment for Transportation in Arctic Waters (CATAW) Scoping Study, Summary Report
Authors: Pizzolato, Larissa
Howell, Stephen
Dawson, Jackie
Copland, Luke
Derksen, Chris
Johnston, Margaret
Date: 1-Sep-2013
Abstract: This scoping study report presents the preliminary analysis of: 1) changing shipping movements in the Canadian Arctic from 1990 to 2011 by total shipping volume and vessel type, and 2) the relationship between changing shipping patterns and sea ice reduction and variability. There has been a significant increase in shipping volume over the past decade. Overall vessel counts increased by 40% from 2006 to 2007 and by 20% from 2007 to 2011. Accounting for annual variability, total vessel volume has increased by more than 75% over the past decade. The most dramatic increase in marine activity involves the rapidly evolving pleasure craft industry (e.g., small vessel recreational boating), which is expected to continue to increase in the near future. The traffic categories of passenger vessels, government vessels and icebreakers, and bulk carriers are also on the rise. The shipping season is getting longer. Combined monthly vessel count trends for all vessels show statistically significant increases in travel during the shoulder season months of June and November. The shipping season is beginning earlier for some vessel types (e.g., Fishing Vessels, Tanker Ships) and extending later into November for other vessel types (e.g., General Cargo). During the shipping season (June 25 to October 15) sea ice in the NORDREG zone experienced declines of total ice, multi-year ice and first year ice over the period 1990–2011 that are statistically significant. Decreasing multi-year ice combined with increased prevalence of younger and thinner first year ice can increase ease of navigation. The greatest reductions in multi-year ice occurred in September through November. Shipping activity has increased in a stepwise manner coincident with the 2007 extreme ice minima, which has persisted in all summers since.
CollectionGéographie // Geography - Publications