The Western and Central Arctic Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS 1)

Study Area: Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Kitikmeot region of Nunavut
Submitted by: Ashley Gaden


ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence, has adopted an Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) framework to combine and summarize all available knowledge of a region affected by change. This knowledge built of western science, traditional knowledge and modeling work (e.g. climate projections), is used to produce a prognosis of the magnitude and extent of socio-economic impacts and benefits of change. The format through which this knowledge is disseminated is a Regional Impact Assessment (RIA), a document that is available to everyone but is aimed particularly at resource managers and decision-makers at all political levels. In a nutshell, the ArcticNet IRISes will help to facilitate better accessibility of knowledge of climate change and other stressors (e.g. modernization).

Project Description

The RIA in development for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Kitikmeot region (collectively referred to as “IRIS 1”) is designed to act as a reference tool to assist with adaptation plans and sustainable development initiatives in the western and central Canadian Arctic.


The process of developing the RIA relies on discussions and feedback with regional decision-makers to ensure the assessment is relevant to their needs. The scope and content of the IRIS 1 RIA has been shaped by priorities addressed through meetings, workshops and presentations with various groups in the Kitikmeot region, Inuvialuit Settlement Region and Yukon. We continue to consult with our collaborators at IRC, the ISR JS and IGC, NTI, CGS GN, NIRB, NWB, ITK, ICC and other groups as the project develops.


As of December 2013, a full, second draft of the RIA was completed and is currently in review by the IRIS 1 Steering Committee, Kitikmeot sub-committee, and scientific experts. The final RIA is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.

Stern, G.A. and Gaden, A. (Eds). 2015. From Science to Policy in the Western and Central Canadian Arctic: An Integrated Regional Impact Study (IRIS) of Climate Change and Modernization. ArcticNet, Quebec City, 432 pp.

Press Release:

Principal Investigators (CEOS): Gary Stern, David Barber, Steven Ferguson, Peter Outridge, Louis Fortier, Lisa Loseto, Robie Macdonald, Jim Reist, John Iacozza

Program Lead: Ashley Gaden

UM Participants: Natalie Asselin, Lauren Candlish, Jennifer Lukovich, Breanne Reinfort


Others:  Total of 94 authors contributing to the RIA; 15 ISR/Kitikmeot/ITK/ICC representatives and 15 scientific experts reviewing assessment

Funding/Other Support

We recognize the generous support we receive from our collaborators at Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Joint Secretariat, Inuvialuit Game Council and other co-management bodies, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Government of Nunavut Community and Government Services, Nunavut Impact Review Board, Nunavut Water Board, Municipalities of Inuvik and Cambridge Bay, Inuit Tapiirit Kanatami, Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada), and the communities of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, as well as all parties that have helped write and review the IRIS 1 regional impact assessment. Funding is provided by ArcticNet.

For more information contact:

Map of IRIS 1 (ISR and Kitikmeot region of Nunavut). Credit: ArcticNet.


Char drying at a traditional hunting camp, the Masoyak ('my-SHOO-yuk') area, outside of Ulukhaktok, NT on the NW shore of Prince Albert Sound. Credit: Ashley Gaden.


Ice road connecting Aklavik, Inuvik and Tukoyaktuk, NT. Credit: Ashley Gaden.


IRIS 1 Regional Scientific Meeting in Inuvik, April 11-15, 2011. Credit: Stephanie Powell-Hellyer.