Graham McDowell

Research Interests:

Environmental change, environmental governance, socio-ecological systems, political ecology, the cryosphere (high mountains and Arctic)


Graham is a PhD student in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at UBC. His doctoral research––co-supervised by Drs. Leila Harris ad Michele Koppes––engages with the question: What are the key processes and implications of environmental change in high mountain regions, and what strategies enable these changes to be negotiated in ways that are attentive to both human well-being and ecological resilience? Prior to coming to UBC, Graham led environmental change assessments in the Nepal Himalaya, Rocky Mountains, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic as well as numerous global-scale evaluations of environmental change impacts and adaptation. He holds an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University and an Honours degree in Geography from McGill University.


McDowell, G. et al. (in press) Adaptation, Adaptation Science, and the Status of Adaptation in Mountain Regions. In Climate Change Adaptation Strategies: An upstream – downstream lens, eds. Huggel, C., Salzmann, N., Ziervogel, G.,  & Nussbaumer, S. Springer.

Ford, J. D., Stephenson, E., Cunsolo Willox, A., Edge, V., Farahbakhsh, K., Furgal, C., Harper, S., Chatwood, S., Mauro, I., Pearce, T., Austin, S., Bunce, A., Bussalleu, A., Diaz, J., Finner, K., Gordon, A., Huet, C., Kitching, K., Lardeau, M.-P., McDowell, G.,McDonald, E., Nakoneczny, L. and Sherman, M. (2015). Community-based adaptation research in the Canadian Arctic. WIREs Climate Change.

Ford, J., McDowell, G., Pearce, T. (2015) The adaptation challenge in the Arctic. Nature Climate Change 5: 1046-1053.

McDowell, G. et al. (2014). Adaptation to climate change in glaciated mountain regions. Climatic Change 126:77-91

Carey, M., McDowell, G. et al. (2014). Integrated Approaches to Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Dynamic Socio-Cryospheric Systems. In Snow and Ice-Related Hazards, Risks and Disasters, eds. W, Haeberli & C. Whiteman. Elsevier.

Ford, J., McDowell, G. Jones, J. (2014). The state of climate change adaptation in the Arctic.Environmental Research Letters. 9:104005-104014

McDowell, G. and Ford, J. (2014). The socio-ecological dimensions of hydrocarbon development in the Disko Bay region of Greenland: Opportunities, risks, and tradeoffs. Applied Geography 46:98-110.

Ford, J., McDowell, G. et al. (2013). The dynamic multi-scale nature of climate change vulnerability: An Inuit harvesting example. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 103:1193-1211.

McDowell, G. et al. (2013). Climate-related hydrological change and human vulnerability in remote mountain regions: A case study from Khumbu, Nepal. Regional Environmental Change 13: 299-310.

McDowell, G. (2012). The role of bridging organizations in facilitating socio-ecological transformation: A case study of the Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative, MSc Thesis. University of Oxford, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford, UK.


McDowell, G. (confirmed) Towards a systematic understanding of climate change adaptation in glaciated mountain regions. Mountains of Our Future Earth Conference. Perth, Scotland.

McDowell, G. (May 8, 2015) What we know, do not know, and need to know about climate change adaptation in high mountain socio-ecological systems. Thinking Mountains. Jasper, Alberta.

McDowell, G. (May 23, 2014) A systematic review of climate change adaptation in glaciated mountain regions. World Mountain Forum. Cusco, Peru.

McDowell, G. et al. (April 30, 2014) Social dimensions of vulnerability to glacier-hydrology hazards in Nepal and Peru. European Geosciences Union General Assembly. Vienna, Austria.

McDowell, G. (December 12, 2013) The Socio-Ecological Dimensions of Hydrocarbon Development in the Disko Bay Region of Greenland: Opportunities, Risks, and Tradeoffs. ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting. Halifax, Nova Scotia.

McDowell, G. (December 5, 2012). Social Network Analysis as an Aid to Landscape-scale Conservation. Great Northern Landscape Conservation Cooperative. Webinar.

McDowell, G. (April 15, 2011). The Human Dimensions of Climate Change in the Khumbu Region of Nepal: Implications of Hydrological Modification. American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Seattle, WA.

McDowell, G. (November 20, 2010). De-Abstracting Climate Change. TEDx. Montréal, QC.

McDowell, G. (April 14, 2010). Real-time Monitoring of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation of Inuit Hunters: The Iqaluit Land-Use Mapping Project. American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting. Washington D.C.


Follow Graham on his personal website