An Arctic climate change study has been cancelled because warming temperatures have filled the sea off northern Newfoundland with hazardous ice.

David Barber, the expedition's chief scientist, says the Coast Guard icebreaker researchers were on had to focus on rescuing fishing boats and helping other ships stuck in ice as much as eight metres thick.

Barber says the ice from the High Arctic is much further south than usual and conditions are the worst he has seen in 35 years.

The scientists were hoping to study the effect of climate change on sea ice in Hudson Bay. The University of Manitoba-led project involved 40 scientists from five universities across Canada.

Barber says the cancellation is ironic because climate change is what caused the thick sea ice to travel so far south.

He says such hazardous conditions will happen more often and Canada needs to be more prepared for the effects of climate change.

-With files from CTV Winnipeg