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Far North

Northern watersheds draining to the Arctic Ocean are increasingly the location of economically important resource extraction in both North America and Siberia.

The “Ring of Fire” chromite deposit in the Hudson Bay Lowlands is a prominent Canadian example. The same watersheds are covered with vast cold weather peatlands storing carbon that would otherwise escape as gases to the atmosphere. They are already being affected by changing climate more than temperate regions.
Understanding how development can take place in these flat and vulnerable northern watersheds without compromising the natural ecosystem services they provide is a major research challenge for the Living with Lakes Centre. The Hudson Bay Lowlands are an ideal natural laboratory from which Canada can both contribute and learn. It is both a challenge and an opportunity of a generation.
Learn more about the issues facing the Far North: The Far North Science Advisory Panel. 2010. Science for a Changing Far North. The Report of the Far North Science Advisory Panel. A report submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.


To learn more about the Far North, browse through the following slides by using the left and right arrows to navigate.

  •  Development is moving north.

    Development is moving north.

  • The Hudson Bay Lowlands, stores approx. 35Gt of C and annually sequesters an amount equal to approx. 8% of Canada's total emissions. Approximately 1/10th of the globe’s atmospheric cooling benefits from wetlands are supplied by Canada’s Hudson Bay Lowlands.

    The Hudson Bay Lowlands, stores approx. 35Gt of C and annually sequesters an amount equal to approx. 8% of Canada’s total emissions. Approximately 1/10th of the globe’s atmospheric cooling benefits from wetlands are supplied by Canada’s Hudson Bay Lowlands.

  • The Hudson Bay Lowlands is the second largest peatland in the world.

    The Hudson Bay Lowlands is the second largest peatland in the world.

  • Permafrost distribution in Canada.

    Permafrost distribution in Canada.

  • Beluga whales at the mouth of the Churchill River. The Hudson Bay Lowlands has 1287 km of arctic ocean coast line.

    Beluga whales at the mouth of the Churchill River. The Hudson Bay Lowlands has 1287 km of arctic ocean coast line.

  • Mean annual temperature in the area is expected to rise from approx. -3°C to +4°C by 2050.

    Mean annual temperature in the area is expected to rise from approx. -3°C to +4°C by 2050.

  • The number of ice free days is increasing.

    The number of ice free days is increasing.

  • Approximately 67% of the surface area of Ontario is within the arctic watershed and drains to Hudson Bay. The major rivers include Albany, Moose, Severn, Winisk, Attawapiskat, and Ekwan.

    Approximately 67% of the surface area of Ontario is within the arctic watershed and drains to Hudson Bay. The major rivers include Albany, Moose, Severn, Winisk, Attawapiskat, and Ekwan.

  • Attawapiskat River

    Attawapiskat River

  • More than 30,000 mining claims have been recorded in the Ring of Fire area. The population of the Far North is expected in increase by more than 10x in the coming decades as development accelerates.

    More than 30,000 mining claims have been recorded in the Ring of Fire area. The population of the Far North is expected in increase by more than 10x in the coming decades as development accelerates.

  • DeBeers Diamond Mine

    DeBeers Diamond Mine

  • Fort Severn. There are 34 remote first nations communities in the Far North with a total population of about 24,000.

    Fort Severn. There are 34 remote first nations communities in the Far North with a total population of about 24,000.