Observed trends and climate projections affecting marine ecosystems in the Canadian Arctic.

Past trends and future projections of key atmospheric, oceanic, sea ice, and biogeochemical variables were assessed to increase our understanding of climate change impacts on Canadian Arctic marine ecosystems. Four subbasins are evaluated: Beaufort Sea, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay/Davis Strait, and Hudson Bay Complex. Limited observations, especially for ecosystem variables, compromise the trend analyses. Future projections are predominately from global models with few contributions from available marine basin scale models. The assessment indicates a significant increase in air temperature, slight increases in precipitation and snow depth, and appreciable changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Projections suggest an increase in storm strength and size, leading to enhanced storm surges and coastal erosion, a slight increase in wave heights, increases in gustiness, and small changes in mean wind speed. An Arctic-wide decrease in the extent of multiyear ice and a spatial and temporal increase in ice-free waters in summer have been observed and are projected to continue into the future.