Sea Ice and Cruise Tourism

Sea-Ice change and the implications for cruise tourism in Arctic Canada (on-going)  


Research team:

  • Dr Emma Stewart , Lincoln University, New Zealand
  • Dr Stephen Howell, Environment Canada, Canada
  • Dr Adrienne Tivy, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA
  • Dr Jackie Dawson, University of Guelph, Canada
  • Dr Dianne Draper, University of Calgary, Canada

Climate induced changes in the Arctic could have significant environmental and economic impacts, and mean that economic sectors that are better able to adapt to a changing climate will prosper, and those that are not may decline, relocate, or disappear. Given the reported decreases in Northern Hemispheric sea ice extent in almost every month of the year since 1979 some suggest that Arctic regions will see continued increases in the cruise tourism sector.  


However, there is limited understanding of the implications of sea ice change for the expedition cruise industry. In order to address this knowledge gap the objective of the project is to examine ice regimes in the Canadian Arctic to help understand past, present and possible future cruise activity in the region. Using the Canadian Ice Service digital ice charts, we examine changes in sea conditions over the past 37 years in order to provide the basis for a discussion about the future of cruise tourism in through the Northwest Passage, the Hudson Bay and Newfoundland and Labrador regions of the Canadian Arctic. The possible implications for shifting patterns of cruise activity in the region are explored, as are issues of safety, monitoring and surveillance.

Page last updated on: 15/05/2012