WARC staff are actively involved in research and monitoring programs throughout the Northwest Territories. WARC has a strong GIS research program, supporting community driven hazard mapping and climate monitoring, in addition to supporting the development of mineral strategies in the Western Arctic. The staff at WARC lead research projects related to wind, solar, and heat energy, space, manufacturing, permafrost, and risk mitigation, among others. WARC is also a partner in several monitoring programs, including air quality, water quality and permafrost monitoring. Additionally, WARC is home to the Western Arctic Ethnobotany Garden, which highlights the Indigenous traditional uses of plants found in the Mackenzie Delta region. Using traditional knowledge from both the Inuvialuit and Gwich’in, the educational garden emphases the critical role plants play in our life: food, fuel, tools, medicine, and more.
In the summer of 2019, several long-term monitoring sites were instrumented with ground temperature loggers, taking advantage of the climatic gradient between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. These monitoring sites are paired with snow manipulation sites, which investigate the influence of snow compaction on ground temperature and its feasibility as a permafrost thaw mitigation technique. To increase permafrost monitoring in the region, an observational permafrost monitoring template is being developed. This template will allow Indigenous, academic, and government partners to collect standardized permafrost data throughout the year. The outputs from this work will help with understanding areas of higher risk to climatic warming and inform risk assessments for development and remediation projects.
The Western Arctic Research Center is a regional center associated with the Aurora Research Institute (ARI), the research division of Aurora College. ARI’s mandate is to improve the quality of life for NWT residents by applying scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge to solve northern problems and advance social and economic goals.