A Method for Assessing Coastal Vulnerabilities to Climate Change within an Arctic Community: The Example of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories
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Climate change is posing problems to people throughout the world, but due to the biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics of indigenous Arctic communities, they are some of the most vulnerable in the world. Vulnerability assessments have been conducted on the Arctic region as a whole, as well as for specific communities, providing information for international, national, and territorial managers. Missing, though, is an assessment of the geospatial distribution of coastal vulnerabilities within a community, which would guide decision-making at the local level. This study aimed to create a method that would combine multiple forms, sources, and types of data and information following the principles of integrated coastal zone management and under the guidance of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. A coastal vulnerability index was based on 27 indicators of socioeconomic and biophysical exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. Through a case study of Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, a community of 900 Inuvialuit, 10 indicators of exposure-sensitivity were operationalized, demonstrating the ability for qualitative information and quantitative data to be integrated to produce a more holistic, detailed, and localized assessment of climate change vulnerability. Using GIS, the distribution of vulnerabilities can be mapped to provide an easily understood product for the general public.