Arctic Climate Impacts on Mid-Latitude Regions and Cities

Circum-Arctic and global research is underway on the impact of Arctic climate change on mid-latitudes regions and cities, with a focus on changing hydrologic systems and atmospheric and ocean circulatory patterns, and how mid-latitude regions and cities can understand and respond to these changes.

For example, in 2013, Calgary and southern Alberta, experienced severe flooding, due in part to a meandering Gulf Stream and greater atmospheric moisture contained in atmospheric rivers. Similar patterns of precipitation extremes and flooding are being experienced in the United Kingdom and northern Europe. More southern regions such as the Mediterranean are experiencing water scarcity. The Arctic is also impacting and changing hydrological cycles for important mid-latitude cities such as New York City, Tokyo and Seoul.

Though each situation will be unique, coasts and seas, mountains and watershed can play important roles in amplifying and moderating these Arctic impacts. Human and industrial developments also play a role in understanding as developments in flood plains and low lying areas, hydraulic engineering and impoundments, and natural ecosystems can increase or moderate the magnitude of these hydrological impacts.

The research will examine and document these Arctic impacts. It will explore different approaches and technologies to communicate these changes within and external to the Arctic. In so doing, it will create a broader public narrative to assist in understanding and building support for responding to these impacts in mid-latitude cities and regions. One key focus will be how mid-latitude cities can develop local approaches and partnerships with other cities in anticipating and responding to hydrological shifts.

A letter has been forwarded to the Arctic Council requesting the opportunity to present on the Ice Circle concept, which is a global collaborative platform encouraging a supporting a multidisciplinary response to the state and impact of rapidly change snow and ice regimes on the global hydrological cycle. The Ice Circle concept is supported by the World Bank, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and the United Nations University on Water, Environment and Health. A copy of the letter is found here, and a description of the concept forwarded to the Arctic Council is found here.

An article entitled " Experts raise alarm over decline of snow, ice" was published in the Calgary Herald on January 3, 2014. The article discusses the Ice Circle concept, and highlight the importance of an UN endorsed International Year of Snow and Ice to raise awareness, mobilize research and help understanding of the implications of changing snow, ice and water. This article is found here.

Lead Investigator: 

Magdalena A.K. Muir, B.A., J.D., LL.M., Research Associate, Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary; Associate Professor, Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences and Nordic Centre of Excellence for Nordic Strategic Adaptation Research, Aarhus University Herning in Herning, Denmark; and Adjunct Professor, Masters of Science: Energy Policy and Climate, John Hopkins University, Washington DC. Dr. Muir is providing information to parties behind the Ice Circle concept, and supporting efforts for an UN endorsed International Year of Snow and Ice.

The research project is being implemented in cooperation with the Master of Science - Energy Policy & Climate Program at John Hopkins University in Washington D.C.; the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) based in Leiden, Netherlands and the EUCC project , "Integrating Knowledge of Climate Impacts and Responses within Europe, focusing on Arctic impacts on northern Europe and Mediterranean" ; and the Aarhus University Herning, the Arctic Research Centre at Aarhus University, and the Nordic Centre of Excellence (NORD-STAR) .