As the exposure to extreme snowstorms continues to change in response to a warming climate, this can lead to higher infrastructure damages, financial instability, accessibility restrictions, as well as safety and health effects. However, it is challenging to quantify the impacts associated with the combination of the many biophysical and socio-economic factors for resiliency and adaptation assessments across many disciplines on multiple spatial and temporal scales. This study applies a framework to quantitatively determine the multiple impacts of snowstorms by calculating the livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) for four exposed freshwater lake communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories using three contributing factors (exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity). Results indicate that Déline is the most vulnerable community (0.67), because it has the highest exposure and one of the highest sensitivity ranks, while its ability to adapt to exposure stressors is the lowest among the communities. In contrast, Fort Resolution exhibits the lowest LVI (0.26) and has one of the highest adaptive capacities. This study emphasizes that while these freshwater communities may be exposed to snowstorms, they have different levels of sensitivity and adaptive capacities in place that influences their vulnerability to changes in hazardous snowfall conditions. The information gained from this study can help guide future adaptation, mitigation, and resiliency practices for Arctic sustainability efforts.
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