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Vulnerability and Sustainability
'Human face' of climate change: Arctic communities forced to adapt their work, diet, and decision making
ScienceDaily, November 25, 2010. Barry Smit is the Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change, and since 2005 he's studied how Arctic communities have tried to adapt to the rising temperatures caused by major shifts in global weather patterns.
A framework for assessing the vulnerability of communities in the Canadian Arctic to risks associated with climate change
J.D. Ford, B. Smit. Arctic (2004) 57(4):389-400. Notwithstanding the scholarship on climate change itself, there are few studies on the nature of Arctic communities' vulnerability to climate-change risks. The authors review existing literature on implications of climate change for Arctic communities, develop a conceptual model of vulnerability, and present an analytical approach to assessing climate hazards and coping strategies in Arctic communities. (PDF, 553.5 KB)
J.D. Ford et al. Climatic Change (2011) 106(2):327-336. The authors develop and apply a systematic mixed-methods literature review methodology to identify and characterize how climate change adaptation is taking place in developed nations. The methodology offers important insights for meta-analyses in climate change scholarship and can be used for monitoring progress in adaptation over time. (PDF, 216.7 KB)
R. Black, BBC News, July 13, 2011. BBC environmental correspondent Richard Black reports on whaling traditions and conditions in Barrow, Alaska,
Adaptation and sustainability in a small Arctic community: Results of an agent-based simulation model
M. Berman et al. Arctic (2004) 57(4):401-414. Agent-based computational models (ABMs) contribute to an integrated assessment of community sustainability by simulating how people interact with each other and adapt to changing economic and environmental conditions. (PDF, 446.27 KB)
B. Smit, J. Wandel. Global Environmental Change (2006) 16(3):282-292. This paper reviews the concept of adaptation of human communities to global changes, especially climate change, in the context of adaptive capacity and vulnerability. (PDF, 318.46 KB)
Seventeen-minute video produced by Alaska Sea Grant and NOAA Alaska Region.
National Academy of Sciences, 2010. This report, part of the America's Climate Choices suite of studies requested by Congress, discusses the impacts of climate change and how we as a nation can begin adapting to them in beneficial ways, exploring activities underway at state and local levels, adaptation options, and how the nation can become better prepared to make adaptation choices.
A. Anderson, Smithsonian Books, 2009, 298 pages. The United States, Canada, Russia, Norway, and Denmark all control areas around the Arctic Ocean. We face a new era of oil rigs and drill ships, of shipping shortcuts, and fights over the Arctic\'s treasures.
Agency, capacity, and resilience to environmental change: Lessons from human development, well-being, and disasters
K. Brown, E. Westaway. Annual Review of Environment and Resources (2011) 36:DOI:10.1146/annurev-environ-052610-092905. Human agency is considered a key factor in determining how individuals and society respond to environmental change. This article synthesizes knowledge on agency, capacity, and resilience across human development, well-being, and disasters literature to provide insights to support more integrated and human-centered approaches to understanding environmental change.
Published by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program with support from the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP). (PDF, 184.27 KB)
Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission: Final report to the Alaska State Legislature, March 17, 2008
The Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission was charged with assessing effects of climate change on the citizens, resources, economy, and assets of the state of Alaska. To better identify and respond to potential climate warming impacts, the Commission took testimony on local efforts. The greater concern of many urban communities was related more to greenhouse gas issues, while with rural communities the prevailing concerns were more terrestrial--erosion, flooding, subsistence, and permafrost issues. (PDF, 8.16 MB)
Arctic Science Journeys Radio, 2001. Interviews with Caleb Pungowiyi and Gunter Weller, longtime observers of climate change in Alaska.
E. Weise. USA Today (updated 5/31/06). Alaska is important in measuring the effect of global warming on the USA because what happens here soon will be felt in the Lower 48 states.
PBS NewsHour, July 10, 2008. In Shishmaref, Alaska -- a 600-person village 20 miles south of the Arctic Circle -- residents are feeling the effects of climate change: earlier sea ice melts and increasing storm surges. Tom Bearden reports on how the residents are coping.
R.D. Brunner et al. Arctic (2004) 57(4):336-346. The purpose of the research reported here is to help the community in Barrow, Alaska, clarify its vulnerability to extreme weather events, and devise better-informed policies for reducing that vulnerability and adapting to climate variability and change. (PDF, 2.96 MB)
S.M. McNeeley, M.D. Shulski. Global Environmental Change (2011) 21(2):464-473. The well-being of rural Native communities is still highly dependent on access and ability to harvest wild foods such as salmon and moose, among many others. Over the past decade, communities in the Koyukuk–Middle Yukon (KMY) region of Interior Alaska report an inability to satisfy their needs for harvesting moose before the hunting season closes, citing warmer falls, changing precipitation and water levels, and the regulatory framework as primary causes.
M. Nuttall. Inuit Studies (2010) 34(1):21-37. Through a specific discussion of hunting, the author argues that understanding local perceptions, concerns, preparedness, and responses to changes in the environment depends on understanding the social and cultural context of anticipation, how people learn to anticipate, and the nature of that anticipation.
BBC News, July 14, 2008. Explorer Glenn Morris has started the second leg of an expedition which is attempting to assess how climate change is affecting the Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic. He is leading a team on a 3,000-mile, three-year journey to kayak along the Northwest Passage. Here he explains the aim of the second leg of the Arctic Voice Expedition and what he witnessed during the first phase last year.
D.J. Tenenbaum. Environmental Health Perspectives (2005) 113(2):A91. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) paints a sobering picture of the effect of present and expected global warming on Arctic peoples and ecosystems.
This website incorporates images and information from the Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely exhibition developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Includes the film Eye Witness to Change. [5:23 min]
L. Berrang-Ford et al. Global Environmental Change (2011) 21(1):25-33. Human systems will have to adapt to climate change. Understanding of the magnitude of the adaptation challenge at a global scale, however, is incomplete, constrained by a limited understanding of if and how adaptation is taking place. Here the authors develop and apply a methodology to track and characterize adaptation action.
M.A. Lange. Climatic Change (2008) 87(1-2):7-34. Stakeholders, when asked about their view on climate change, largely consider it but one factor determining their future. While not denying the existence of climate change and its possible impacts, stakeholders consider it as part of a larger, more interwoven net of drivers that they have to adjust to or adapt to in order to maintain their livelihood.
Assessing climate change vulnerability in the Arctic using geographic information services in spatial data infrastructures
L. Bernard, N. Ostländer. Climatic Change (2008) 87(1-2):263-281. This paper presents the application of SDI to climate change assessment by implementing a generic methodology for the quantification of vulnerability to climate change. The resulting integrated tool allows scientists, stakeholders, and decision makers to communicate, assess, and improve information about vulnerability to climate change.
Proceedings of a workshop at University of Alaska Fairbanks, 29-30 October 1998, published by Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research, UAF. The objectives of this interdisciplinary workshop were to assess the nature and magnitude of changes in the Alaska/Bering Sea region as a consequence of climate change; predict/assess the consequences of these changes on the physical, biological and socioeconomic systems in the region; determine the cumulative impacts of these changes on the region, including assessment of past impacts; and begin to investigate possible policy options to mitigate these cumulative impacts.
Report prepared by GRID-Arendal for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, March 2009. Food security, like climate change, is a multi-faceted issue. Bringing the two together to determine how climate change may impact food security is complex. (PDF, 924.1 KB)
O. Varis. Ambio (2006) 35(4):176-181. Melting of glaciers will accelerate sea-level rise. The reduced snow and ice surface area will cut down the amount of radiation reflected out to space and speed up the warming process. These are some of the threats that climate change projections have for the Arctic zone.
B. Reiss, Smithsonian.com, March 2011. Scientists converge on the northernmost city in the United States to study global warming's dramatic consequences.
F.S. Chapin III et al. Ambio (2006) 35(4):198-202. Unprecedented global changes caused by human actions challenge society's ability to sustain the desirable features of our planet. This requires proactive management of change to foster both resilience (sustaining those attributes that are important to society in the face of change) and adaptation (developing new socioecological configurations that function effectively under new conditions).
S. Hallegatte et al. Nature Climate Change (2011) 1:151-155. The authors identify three dimensions that take into account the most relevant factors that define the vulnerability of human systems to climate change and their ability to adapt to it.
C. Nilsson et al. Ambio (2010) 39(1):81-84. The authors assess the likely changes in the provision of goods and services from natural and seminatural ecosystems (i.e., excluding urban, industrial, and agricultural land) in the Barents regionâthe northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and northwestern Russiaâas a consequence of anticipated climate changes during the twenty-first century.
Alaska Seas & Coasts, Volume 5, May 2008. Warmer water means fish, which are dependent on favorable temperatures, must move. Some fishing communities that rely on these resources may suffer, while others may find new opportunities. Are our fishery management systems flexible enough to respond to major changes in ranges of fish and shellfish? (PDF, 1.81 MB)
K. Rideout, Above & Beyond, November/December 2011. While climate-focused policies often target the macro-level solution of mitigation through the reduction of greenhouse gases, it's equally important for communities to adapt to climate change effects and uphold their quality of life. Across the Arctic, collaborative efforts are underway with governments, organizations, communities, and individuals combining their knowledge and resources to develop more effective adaptation strategies. An example of this kind of joint effort is the community-led adaptation work being done in Paulatuk and Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories.
Climate and cultural barriers to northern economic development: A case study from Broughton Island, N.W.T., Canada
J. Oakes. Climate Research (1995) 5:91-98. It is critical to study climate and cultural factors influencing the handicraft industry in order to combat critical levels of unemployment in northern settlements. The purpose of thls paper is to identify the climate and cultural factors influencing production at the Minnguq Sewing Group in Broughton Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. This is one of three main volumes under the umbrella title Climate Change 2007.
Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. This is one of three main volumes under the umbrella title Climate Change 2007.
An Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. This synthesis report is based on the assessment carried out by the three working groups of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (PDF, 4.01 MB) It discusses observed changes in climate, their effects, their causes, and projections of future climate changes and their impacts. Also available here is a brochure (PDF, 566.3 KB) published by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution summarizing key climate change impacts identified by the 2007 IPCC report.
Report (March 2011) prepared by K. Friendship and Community of Aklavik in association with ArcticNorth Consulting and RavenQuest with funding from Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Climate Change Adaptation Program. (PDF, 13.17 MB)
Report (March 2011) prepared by A. Caron and Community of Paulatuk in association with ArcticNorth Consulting with funding from Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Climate Change Adaptation Program. (PDF, 12.18 MB)
Report (March 2011) prepared by Community of Ulukhaktok in association with ArcticNorth Consulting, Global Environmental Change Group (University of Guelph), and Sivuniq Corporation, Inc., with funding from Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Climate Change Adaptation Program. (PDF, 16.98 MB)
T. Johnson, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2011. This manual is for extension professionals, community organizers, local planning officials, teachers, or anyone else whose task is to help individuals, families, businesses, communities, and local governments think through the meaning of climate change on the local scale, assess vulnerabilities, devise strategies for improving resilience, locate tools and resources that will help, and develop and implement plans for adaptation. (PDF, 458.33 KB)
Climate change and Arctic sustainable development: Scientific, social, cultural and educational challenges
Report and recommendations from an international expert meeting, Novotel Monte Carlo, Monaco, March 2009. The rapid rate of climatic change in the Arctic, coupled with the potential increased transmission of invasive species, greater industrialization, and rapid social change, makes understanding and conserving Arctic biodiversity an ever greater challenge. (PDF, 210 KB)
Climate change and consequences in the Arctic: Perception of climate change by the Nenets people of Vaigach Island
A.N. Davydov, G.V. Mikhailova. Global Health Action (2011)4:DOI: 10.3402/gha.v4i0.8436. Arctic climate change is already having a significant impact on the environment, economic activity, and public health. For the northern peoples, traditions and cultural identity are closely related to the natural environment so any change will have consequences for society in several ways. (PDF, 1.14 MB)
C. Sakakibara. Weather, Climate, and Society (2011) 3(2):76-89. This article explores the interface of climate change and society in a circumpolar context, particularly experienced among the IÃ±upiaq people (IÃ±upiat) of Arctic Alaska. The IÃ±upiat call themselves the "People of the Whales," and their physical and spiritual survival is based on their cultural relationship with bowhead whales.
E.C.H. Keskitalo, Earthscan, 2008. The case studies in this volume examine forestry, fishing, and reindeer herding in northernmost Europeânorthern Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The present study builds on the work of ACIA but undertakes a more detailed vulnerability assessment of the sectors identified as important for northern areas.
For the Inuit, climate change is an issue of cultural survival. This is a video recording of an interview with Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), an organization representing the Inuit across the Arctic, as she explores the effects of climate change on her Arctic home. The interview was recorded February 13, 2006, as part of the "Voices" series sponsored by UC Santa Barbara. [54:01 min]
T.D. Pearce et al. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change (2011) 16(3):347-368. In recent years, mines across Canada have been affected by significant climatic hazards, several of which are regarded to be symptomatic of climate change. For the mining sector, climate change is a pressing environmental threat and a significant business risk.
Fact sheet published by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program with support from the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP). (PDF, 885.66 KB)
J. Robinson et al. Ambio (2006) 35(1):2-8. This paper examines climate change through a sustainable development lens. To illustrate how this might change the approach to climate change issues, it reports on the findings of a panel of business, local government, and academic representatives in British Columbia, Canada, who were appointed to advise the provincial government on climate change policy.
J.D. Ford et al. Polar Research (2009) 28(1):1-138. This special issue of Polar Research brings together nine papers on the nature of the risks and opportunities posed by climate change in the circumpolar region, highlighting opportunities for policy response and providing insights on how to conduct effective climate change research with Arctic communities. The articles are: Foreword to the special issue Community collaboration and climate change research in the Canadian Arctic Arctic climate change discourse: The contrasting politics of research agendas in the West and Russia Community clusters in wildlife and environmental management: Using TEK and community involvement to improve co-management in an era of rapid environmental change The role of governance in community adaptation to climate change A reindeer herder's perspective on caribou, weather and socio-economic change on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska Canadian Inuit subsistence and ecological instability: If the climate changes, must the Inuit? Vulnerability and adaptation to climate-related fire impacts in rural and urban interior Alaska Demographic and environmental conditions are uncoupled in the social-ecological system of the Pribilof Islands From good to eat to good to watch: Whale watching, adaptation and change in Icelandic fishing communities
Report prepared by ANTHC Center for Climate and Health, October 2011. Kiana is a small Inupiat Eskimo community located on the north bank of the Kobuk River. Life in Kiana revolves around subsistence, and people engage year-round in hunting, fishing, and gathering wild foods and materials. Perhaps the most important impact from warming is the thawing of permafrost along the rivers, under lakes, and across the land. (PDF, 6.35 MB)
Report prepared by ANTHC Center for Climate and Health, January 2011. There are many uncertainties about the future of Kivalina, but it is obvious that climate change is resulting in serious health challenges that need to be addressed. The purpose of this report is to facilitate informed decision making, and the development of adaptive measures that encourage a sustainable and healthy future for Kivalina and other communities in the Northwest Arctic region. (PDF, 7.94 MB)
Report prepared by ANTHC Center for Climate and Health, June 2011. In Noatak, the rate of climate change is not just measured in decades, but rather in years, months, or even hours. Residents traveling the Noatak River encounter sections of collapsed riverbank that were intact only hours before. (PDF, 8.2 MB, archived webpage)
M. Tremblay et al. Arctic (2008) 61(1):27-34. Arctic communities are recently reporting warmer and shorter winters, which have implications for the ice season and, consequently, on the access to local territories and resources by members of these communities. These climatic shifts are resulting in increased risks for travel during the winter season associated with less stable and thinner ice. (PDF, 2.18 MB)
Report prepared by ANTHC Center for Climate and Health, August 2010. Point Hope is one of the most exposed communities in Alaska, vulnerable to the full force of coastal storms and the constant shaping of the land by the wind and the sea. Shore erosion and the risk of flooding has forced relocation in the past. Today with the added pressure of climate change, Point Hope continues its struggle with increased urgency against erosion and against other emerging challenges to the community, the culture, and to public health. (PDF, 10.31 MB, archived webpage)
S.J. Cohen, M.W. Waddell. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009. This book goes beyond climate modeling to investigate interdisciplinary attempts to measure and forecast the complex impacts of future climate change on communities, how we assess their vulnerability, and how we plan to adapt our society.
J.D. Ford et al. Geographical Journal (2007) 174(1):45-62. Global climate models (GCMs) project continued increases in temperature and precipitation over the Canadian Arctic; alterations to the frequency, magnitude, and geographic distribution of climate-related events; reduced areal extent and thickness of the sea ice and permafrost; and shifts in the distribution, abundance, and migratory behavior of Arctic wildlife species. This paper characterizes vulnerability to climate change in two Inuit communities in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, focusing on the resource harvesting sector.
L. Numminen. Proceedings from the Fifth Northern Research Forum (2008). This presentation is based on the author's doctoral dissertation, which investigates how two Northern societies have responded to challenges caused by the interplay between environmental, political, and/or socioeconomic change throughout their history. The author describes perspectives on adaptation in the history of Greenland. (PDF, 102.92 KB)
Chapter 17 (pages 945-988) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. This chapter presents a framework for vulnerability analysis and uses this framework to illuminate examples in Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada; coastal Greenland; and Finnmark, Norway. These examples focus on indigenous peoples and their experiences or potential experiences with climate change, organic and metallic pollution, and changing human and societal conditions. (PDF 1.54 MB)
Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, 2006. These six guidebooks contain: suggestions of how a First Nation might plan for climate change, how to involve the community, and activities that a First Nation can use to involve members of the community to set priorities and achieve them.
L. Morello, D.F. Maron, New York Times, March 11, 2011. Climate change will pose major new hurdles for U.S. naval forces, forcing the military to grapple with an emerging Arctic frontier, increasing demand for humanitarian aid and creating rising seas that could threaten low-lying bases, the National Academy of Sciences says.
N. Kishigami. Inuit Studies (2010) 34(1):91-107. Using actor-network theory from a political economy perspective, this paper describes several interrelated internal and external factors (actors) that threaten the continuation of whaling. The author concludes that whaling is directly linked to the cultural security of the Inupiat.
Climate change, uncertainty, and resilient fisheries: Institutional responses through integrative science
K. Miller et al. Progress in Oceanography (2010) 87(1-4):338-346. This paper explores the importance of a focus on the fundamental goals of resilience and adaptive capacity in the governance of uncertain fishery systems, particularly in the context of climate change. Climate change interacts strongly with fishery systems, and adds to the inherent uncertainty in those complex, interlinked systems.
This story was written by Melissa Block of National Public Radio and aired on "All Things Considered" on September 17, 2007.
J.T. Overpeck et al. Science (2011) 331(6018):700-702. Climate data are dramatically increasing in volume and complexity, just as the users of these data in the scientific community and the public are rapidly increasing in number. A new paradigm of more open, user-friendly data access is needed to ensure that society can reduce vulnerability to climate variability and change, while at the same time exploiting opportunities that will occur.
A global forum for indigenous peoples, small islands, and vulnerable communities.
T.D. Prowse et al. Ambio (2009) 38(5). This issue contains a series of articles about impacts of climate change on physical, natural, and human systems in Canada's North: Climate impacts on northern Canada: Introduction Climate impacts on northern Canada: Regional background Climatic conditions in northern Canada: Past and future Implications of climate change for northern Canada: The physical environment Implications of climate change for economic development in northern Canada: Energy, resource, and transportation sectors Implications of climate change for northern Canada: Freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems
G.J. Laidler, W.A. Gough. Polar Geography (2003) 27(1):38-58. Hudson Bay is one of the largest inland seas in the world and is located within the subarctic and arctic regions of Canada. Regional climates in the Hudson Bay bioregion are influenced by yearly cycles of ice-covered and ice-free seasons, tending to contribute to high interannual variability. Cree and Inuit communities established along the Hudson Bay coasts have adapted and responded to these seasonal fluctuations for generations.
D. Armitage et al. Global Environmental Change (2011). Co-management institutional arrangements have an important role in creating conditions for social learning and adaptation in a rapidly changing Arctic environment. This paper draws on three co-management cases from the Canadian Arctic to examine the role of knowledge co-production as an institutional trigger or mechanism to enable learning and adapting.
F. Berkes, D. Armitage. Inuit Studies (2010) 34(1):109-131. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes little mention of indigenous peoples, and then only as victims of changes beyond their control. This view of indigenous peoples as passive and helpless needs to be challenged. Indigenous peoples, including the Canadian Inuit, are keen observers of environmental change and have lessons to offer about how to adapt, a view consistent with the Inuit self-image of being creative and adaptable. (PDF, 264 KB)
G.K. Hovelsrud, B. Smit (eds.), Springer, 2010. Under the auspices of the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (IPY), the CAVIAR consortium was formed with partners from all eight Arctic countries as a response to the need for systematic assessment of community vulnerabilities and adaptations across the Arctic. The aim of the interdisciplinary CAVIAR project is to increase understanding of the vulnerability of Arctic communities to changing societal and environmental conditions, including climate change.
Report prepared by the Scientific Expert Group on Climate Change (SEG) for the 15th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, 2007. It is becoming more and more clear that the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are the world community's blueprint for moving towards a sustainable, just world during this decade and beyond, are becoming more difficult to achieve as a result of human-induced climate change. (PDF, 15.37 MB)
A.H. Lynch, R.D. Brunner. Climatic Change (2007) 82(1-2):93-111. Local context matters in science, policy, and decision-making structures for adaptation to climate change and variability. Overall, cognitive constraints may be the most important human dimension of climate change. Factoring the global problem into more tractable local problems would make the most of our cognitive capacity.
Report prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, June 2004. This report provides a review of the role of adaptation in addressing climate change, the options available for increasing our ability to adapt, and the extent to which adaptation can reduce the consequences of climate change to the U.S. economy and natural resources. (PDF, 15.37 MB)
NPR's "Talk of the Nation," October 2, 2009. Lester Brown, president and founder of the Earth Policy Institute, argues for an aggressive increase in renewable energy production, better energy-efficiency standards, and a return to human-centered urban design in his latest book, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.
J.J. West, G.K. Hovelsrud. Arctic (2010) 63(3):338-354. Although fishery actors in Lebesby are aware of, experience, and describe a number of connections between climate variability and coastal fishing activities, they do not characterize their livelihoods as being particularly vulnerable to climate change. Nevertheless, they identify a range of social factors that shape the flexibility of coastal fishing activities and livelihoods to deal with changing environmental conditions. (PDF, 721.76 KB)
J.D. Ford. Environmental Research Letters (2009) 4(2):1-9. The Arctic's climate is changing rapidly, to the extent that 'dangerous' climate change as defined by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change might already be occurring. These changes are having implications for the Arctic's Inuit population and are being exacerbated by the dependence of Inuit on biophysical resources for livelihoods and the low socioeconomic health status of many northern communities. (PDF, 484.87 KB)
Data and processes linking vulnerability assessment to adaptation decision-making on climate change in Norway
L.O. Næss et al. Global Environmental Change (2006) 16(2):221-233. This article focuses on the use of climate change vulnerability assessments in a local decision-making context, with particular reference to recent studies in Norway. The authors focus on two aspects of vulnerability assessments they see as key to local decision making: first, the information generated through the assessments themselves, and second, the institutional linkages to local level decision-making processes.
Report prepared by the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP), 2009. This report is intended to inform decisions about climate change and uncertainty, risk management, and relocation planning. It does not address social, psychological, or cultural issues involved in village relocation and does not serve as a one-size-fits-all plan for relocating at-risk communities. (PDF, 941.42 KB) There is a slide presentation from a webinar about the report, presented by Daniel White of ACCAP on January 26, 2010 (PDF, 1.48 MB), and a podcast of the webinar. (MP3, 54.41 MB) This interviews requires the use of the QuickTime, which can be downloaded from QuickTime's Web site at no charge.
Climate Prosperity, Report 02, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, 2010. This report illustrates the expected impacts of a changing climate for Canada and how adapting to these impacts now will be necessary to secure prosperity in an uncertain climate future.(PDF, 5.54 MB)
N. Lord, Counterpoint Press, 2011. Alaskan Writer Laureate Nancy Lord takes a look at how communities in the North—where global warming is amplified and climate-change effects are most immediate—are responding with "desperation and creativity." Listen to an interview on APRN's "Talk of Alaska" January 25, 2011.
A. Eide, K. Heen, Fisheries Research (2002) 56(3):261-274. Several studies have been carried out on the possible physical and biological effects of global warming in the Barents Sea area. Based on these studies, this paper discusses the effects global warming may have on the Barents Sea fisheries and the implications for the north Norwegian economy.
P. Collings. Arctic (2011) 64(2):207-219. This paper examines the social networks of country food sharing in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada, in light of our current understanding of the relationship between climate change and Arctic peoples. (PDF, 502 KB)
Effects of climatic variability on three fishing economies in high-latitude regions: Implications for fisheries policies
J.R. McGoodwin. Marine Policy (2007) 31(1):40-55. Research exploring how climatic variability impacts fishing economies in high-latitude regions was conducted in south-central Iceland and southwest Alaska during 2001-2004. Important differences were found regarding the economic impacts of climatic variations in the commercial economies in Iceland and Alaska, versus in the native subsistence economies in Alaska.
NPR's "Morning Edition," September 6, 2010. Archaeologist Ben Potter of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, thinks of ancient sites of human habitation as a laboratory to understand how humans coped "when they're pushed to their limit, or when they are approaching an environment that they're not equipped for biologically." Aron Crowell, Alaska Director of the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center, states, "It's easy to see that it's not individual intelligence that makes us so good at adapting. It's an important component, but we also need the ability to accumulate knowledge gradually over a whole population of people over hundreds or maybe even thousands of years."
M. Furberg et al. Global Health Action (2011):4:DOI: 10.3402/gha.v4i0.8417. Swedish reindeer-herding Sami perceive climate change as yet another stressor in their daily struggle. They have experienced severe and more rapidly shifting, unstable weather with associated changes in vegetation and alterations in the freeze-thaw cycle, all of which affect reindeer herding. (PDF, 2.34 MB)
Facing the storm: Indian tribes, climate-induced weather extremes, and the future for Indian country
Report by the National Wildlife Federation, 2011. North American Indian Tribes often have a close connection to the land for economic development, sustenance, and for maintenance of cultural traditions, so changes to natural systems impact them more directly than the general population.
Food security and marine capture fisheries: Characteristics, trends, drivers and future perspectives
S.M. Garcia, A.A. Rosenberg. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365(1554):2869-2880. Looking towards 2050, the question is how fisheries governance, and the national and international policy and legal frameworks within which it is nested, will ensure a sustainable harvest, maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and adapt to climate change.
Report prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, February 2003. This is the ninth in a series of Pew Center reports examining the potential impacts of climate change on our environment and health. A previous report in this series addressed the risks to terrestrial ecosystems posed by climate change. This report details the likely ecological and economic impacts of climate change over the next century on the U.S. forestry sector. (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Generation and transmission of environmental knowledge and land skills in adaptation to climate change in the Arctic
T. Pearce. Proceedings of the Fifth Northern Research Forum (2008). This paper outlines the rationale and objectives of research that documents and describes how environmental knowledge and land skills are generated and transmitted among Inuit in an Arctic community, and investigates how this influences adaptation to climate change. (PDF, 1.44 KB)
R.A. Matthew et al. (eds), MIT Press, 2009. This book examines the complex social, health, and economic consequences of environmental change across the globe.
NPR's "Morning Edition," December 27, 2007. Fish farms, one of Norway's biggest moneymakers, are fast becoming vulnerable because of climate change. The farther north you go, the easier it is to see signs of melting sea ice or stranded polar bears, and northern countries such as Norway fear their economies will suffer.
S. Leahy. Inter Press Service, September 11, 2004. Climate change will soon make the Arctic regions of the world nearly unrecognizable, dramatically disrupting traditional Inuit and other northern native peoples' way of life. These dire predictions are just some of the findings by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), an unprecedented four-year scientific investigation into the current and future impact of climate change in the region.
S. Perkins. Nature (2011) 1:184. Sudden shifts in climate coincided with several human migrations in and out of Greenland during the past five millennia, a study shows.
PBS NewsHour, August 1, 2007. Residents of Greenland's west coast say they are feeling the effects of rising sea temperatures in the fishing and tourism industries. NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports on the research into whether the changes are climate change-related.
University of Alaska Anchorage podcast. Climate justice expert Maxine Burkett, associate professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, William S. Richardson School of Law, gave this talk hosted by the Resilience and Adaptive Management (RAM) Group and the Office of the Chancellor. This podcast was recorded on September 29, 2009. (MP3â107 MB) [1:56:55 min] This interviews requires the use of the QuickTime, which can be downloaded from QuickTime's Web site at no charge.
High-latitude sustainability: Options for enhancing the resilience of northern countries to rapid social and environmental change: A message to policy makers
O. Ullsten et al. Ambio (2004) 33(6):343. The eight arctic and boreal nations are now experiencing unprecedented environmental and social changes. The following seven papers in this Ambio issue summarize results that explain why northern countries might be either unusually resilient or vulnerable to these changes. These papers result from a meeting sponsored by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and the International Arctic Research Center to address high-latitude sustainability: Resilience and vulnerability of northern regions to social and environmental change (F.S. Chapin III et al.) The dynamics of ecosystems, biodiversity management and social institutions at high northern latitudes (T. Elmqvist et al.) Past, current and future fire frequency in the Canadian boreal forest: Implications for sustainable forest management (Y. Bergeron et al.) Global change and the boreal forest: Thresholds, shifting states or gradual change? (F.S Chapin III et al.) Institutional frameworks for sustainability? A comparative analysis of the forest sectors of Russia and the Baltic states (L. Carlsson, M. Lazdinis) Bringing feedback and resilience of high-latitude ecosystems into the corporate boardroom (G. Whiteman et al.) Geographic variations in anthropogenic drivers that influence the vulnerability and resilience of social-ecological systems (B.C. Forbes et al.)
BBC News, March 30, 2010. Hillary Clinton has criticized Canada for failing to invite indigenous groups and Scandinavian countries to talks on the future of the Arctic.
NPR's "All Things Considered," January 11, 2003. The world's glaciers are melting, and, as they do, artifacts from the near and distant past are emerging from the ice. And as temperature increase across Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, it may affect modern-day descendants of these ancient people. NPR's Eric Niiler reports.
Slide presentation by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, 2008. Alaska's fisheries, which are commercially important (providing half of the US domestic catch), and traditional subsistence ways of life will be changing in complex and sometimes uncertain ways as the climate changes. (PDF 4.24 MB, archived webpage, archived webpage)
NPR's "Day to Day," February 14, 2008. Scientists, politicians, and community leaders met in Anchorage to discuss the impact of climate change on Alaska. Elizabeth Arnold reports.
A. McIlgorm et al. Marine Policy (2010) 34(1):170-177. The case studies reveal governance issues that indicate adaptation will involve more flexible fishery management regimes, schemes for capacity adjustment, catch limitation, and alternative fishing livelihoods for fishers. Where fishery governance systems have been less developed, fisheries are less able to adapt to climate change impacts.
J. Ford, B. Smith. Proceedings of the Third Northern Research Forum (2004). This paper presents a vulnerability-based approach to characterize the human implications of climate change for Arctic communities. The approach explicitly incorporates the knowledge, experience, and observations of Inuit to identify current exposures and adaptive strategies, and to assess future risks and adaptation needs. (PDF, 4.24 MB)
Hunting, herding, fishing, and gathering: Indigenous peoples and renewable resource use in the Arctic
Chapter 12 (pages 649-690) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. Climatic variability and weather affect the abundance and availability of animals and thus the abilities and opportunities to harvest and process animals for food, clothing, and other purposes. Arctic communities experience forces that threaten to restrict harvesting activities and sever these relationships. (PDF, 666.3 KB)
Immediate Action Workshop Recommendations to the Governor's Subcabinet on Climate Change, March 2009
The Immediate Action Workgroup of the Governor's Executive Subcabinet on Climate Change was established to address known threats to communities caused by coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, flooding, and fires. (PDF, 2.21 MB)
The ACIA Synthesis Report (2004) is a plain-language synthesis of the key findings of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, designed to make the scientific findings accessible to policymakers and the broader public.
M-C Badjeck et al. Marine Policy (2010) 34(3):375-383. There is increasing concern over the consequences of global warming for the food security and livelihoods of the world's 36 million fisherfolk and the nearly 1.5 billion consumers who rely on fish for more than 20% of their dietary animal protein. With mounting evidence of the impacts of climate variability and change on aquatic ecosystems, the resulting impacts on fisheries livelihoods are likely to be significant, but remain a neglected area in climate adaptation policy.
Proceedings of a Workshop, University of Alaska Fairbanks, June 1997, published April 1998 by the Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research, UAF. This workshop was part of a series of U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) regional climate change workshops being held in 1997 and 1998 as a first step in a U.S. national assessment of the consequences of climate change.
Importance of traditional foods for the food security of two First Nations communities in the Yukon, Canada
R.C. Schuster et al. International Journal of Circumpolar Health (2011) 70(3):286-300. This study seeks to evaluate food consumption patterns in the context of food security in the Yukon First Nations communities of Teslin and Old Crow. The quantity of traditional foods consumed in 2007-2008 is described and the frequency compared to data from 1991-1992. The study explores aspects of food security including access to, and availability of, traditional foods.
R.E. Morss. Annual Review of Environment and Resources (2011) DOI:10.1146/annurev-environ-060809-100145. This article synthesizes current interdisciplinary knowledge about extreme weather. The authors discuss hydrometeorological aspects of extreme weather; projections of changes in extremes with anthropogenic climate change; and how social vulnerability, coping, and adaptation shape the societal impacts of extreme weather.
The Observer, guardian.co.uk, November 28, 2010. Climate change, hunting controls and a new consumerism threaten the way of life of the Polar Eskimos of northwest Greenland. In the second of a series of dispatches, Stephen Pax Leonard reports from a community on the brink.
D. Nelson et al. American Anthropologist (2009) 111(3):271-274. Human adaptation is a field with a significant history in anthropology, yet anthropological contributions to the burgeoning field of climate change remain limited. This "In Focus" section presents studies of local adaptations to climate variation and change. (PDF, 74 KB)
A. Knap et al. Environmental Health Perspectives (2002) 110(9):839-845. The authors review the current state of indicators to link changes in marine organisms with eventual effects to human health, identify research opportunities in the use of indicators of ocean and human health, and discuss how to establish collaborations between national and international governmental and private sector groups.
Issues paper prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 2008. Through this report, IUCN offers some elements that will facilitate integration of sociocultural considerations in programs and actions to address climate change impacts. (PDF, 1.49 MB)
Z. Grossman. American Indian Culture and Research Journal (2008) 32(3):5-27. In order to survive climate change, Indigenous communities will have to share information with each other about the effects of global warming as well as share different responses. But the first priority is to share information within each community. Tribal government officials alone will not meet the challenge of climate change; it is simply too huge a problem and needs to involve the entire community.
Publication by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Oxford, 2007. Indigenous and other local peoples are vital and active parts of many ecosystems and may help to enhance the resilience of these ecosystems. In addition, they interpret and react to climate change impacts in creative ways, drawing on traditional knowledge as well as new technologies to find solutions, which may help society at large to cope with the impending changes. (PDF, 1.65 MB)
T.B. Leduc. Ecological Economics (2006) 60(1):27-35. This paper proposes that market economic rationality limits the general Western approach towards climate change and indigenous knowledge.
Inuit vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada
T. Pearce et al. Polar Record (2010) 46(02):157-177. Climate change is already being experienced in the Arctic with implications for ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. This paper argues that an assessment of community vulnerability to climate change requires knowledge of past experience with climate conditions, responses to climatic variations, future climate change projections, and non-climate factors that influence people's susceptibility and adaptive capacity.
UAA Podcast, February 4, 2011. The UAA Department of Biology featured Dr. Lil Alessa speaking about some surprising climate change findings. Her talk is in two parts. The first half deals with what data tells us about climate change in Alaska. The second half proposes a future water economy for Alaska. She reports that water is so valuable that Canada is building a water pipeline to the Four Corners area of the U.S., and China and France are buying up Alaska's water rights now. Dr. Alessa is with the Resilience and Adaptive Management (RAM) Group at University of Alaska Anchorage. [52:33 min]
National Academy of Sciences, 2010. This report is part of a suite of studies entitled America's Climate Choices.
W. Steffen. Ambio (2008) 37(sp14):507-513. The emergence of climate change as a central political issue around the world, along with growing concern for the environment more generally, has raised the challenge to achieve sustainability as a high order social goal. Yet over the 20 years since the publication of the landmark Brundtland Report on sustainable development, humanity has moved further away from sustainability in many important aspects, particularly at the global scale.
Report prepared by the United Nations Foundation and the Center for American Progress, 2009. Achievable gains in energy efficiency, renewable energy, forest conservation, and sustainable land use worldwide, along with additional investments in climate adaptation, would deliver a wide range of economic, security, and environmental benefits in developed and developing countries. (PDF, 293.6 KB)
R. McLeman, B. Smit. Climatic Change (2006) 76(1-2):31-53. This article presents a conceptual model to investigate population migration as a possible adaptive response to risks associated with climate change. The model reflects established theories of human migration behavior, and is based upon the concepts of vulnerability, exposure to risk, and adaptive capacity, as developed in the climate change research community. (PDF, 271 KB)
The Native Peoples - Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop was held on October 28 through November 01, 1998, as part of a series of workshops being held around the U.S. to improve the understanding of the potential consequences of climate variability and change for the nation. This workshop was specifically designed by Native peoples to examine the impacts of climate change and extreme weather variability on Native peoples and Native homelands from an indigenous cultural and spiritual perspective and to develop recommendations as well as identify potential response actions. (PDF, 808.94 KB)
NPR's "All Things Considered," September 11, 2007. Melissa Block reports from Barrow about the changing coastline there.
N. Mackin, session abstract from the 34th annual meeting of the Society for Ethnobiology, May 4, 2011. Northern Indigenous peoples worry that nutritious foods are becoming less available in their communities during these times of accelerated climate, landscape, and social change. Elders express worry about the rapidly melting glaciers and the loss of knowledge about, and access to, traditional foods that were an important part of remaining healthy.
ScienceDaily, November 22, 2010. A new government report documents Norway's vulnerability to climate change and discusses adaptation measures. The committee behind the report emphasizes that research must be a prioritized means of addressing climate challenges. A copy of the report is available in Norwegian. (PDF, 3.23 MB)
Science Daily, September 13, 2011. Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.
This NOVA video series explores the past and future of the fast-changing Bering Sea region, its culture and people, and the new polar science that is emerging from an expedition on board the Coast Guard cutter Healy.
Climate Prosperity, Report 04, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, 2011. Climate change costs for Canada could escalate from roughly $5 billion per year in 2020—less than 10 years away—to between $21 billion and $43 billion per year by the 2050s. The magnitude of costs depends upon a combination of two factors: global emissions growth and Canadian economic and population growth. (PDF, 9.08 MB)
The Circle (2010), Issue 2. The Circle is published quarterly by the WWF International Arctic Programme. This issue focuses on the people living in the Arctic; how their lives are influenced by the dramatic changes occurring in the region as temperatures reach record high levels, the sea ice is melting with an alarming speed, and countries and companies compete for access to the wealth of Arctic resources; how people of the North cope with and adapt to these changes; and the role of traditional knowledge in these processes today. (PDF, 4.67 MB)
L. Alessa et al. Global Environmental Change (2008) 18(1):153-164. This paper provides empirical evidence to support existing anecdotal studies regarding the mechanisms by which human communities become vulnerable to rapid changes in freshwater resources on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. Authors discuss the role of collective knowledge, through the transmission of knowledge from elders to subsequent generations, in aiding the development of a community's ability to note and respond to changes in critical natural resources.
ScienceDaily, March 13, 2010. Since 2004, University at Buffalo anthropologist Ezra Zubrow has worked intensively with teams of scientists in the Arctic regions of St. James Bay, Quebec, northern Finland, and Kamchatka to understand how humans living 4,000 to 6,000 years ago reacted to climate changes.
A report of the Alaska Regional Assessment Group for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, published by the Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research, UAF, Dec. 1999. This group's assessment of the impacts of climate change in Alaska and the Bering Sea region started in 1995, with workshops taking place each year. The present report is a summary of the findings from all of these workshops.
P.W. Mote et al. Climatic Change (2003) 61(1-2):45-88. The impacts of year-to-year and decade-to-decade climatic variations on some of the Pacific Northwest's key natural resources can be quantified to estimate sensitivity to regional climatic changes expected as part of anthropogenic global climatic change.
R. Lamb, M.V. Davis, EPA, August 2011. This collection of adaptation practices and strategies presents practical examples for tribal environmental managers and leadership to consider applying to their own unique circumstances. Although there is no strategy that can be universally applied, this guide may spark new ideas for creating effective tribal responses. Tribes can incorporate these models into their planning, programs, strategic plans, and funding requests. (PDF, 1.79 MB)
K. O'Brien et al. Ambio (2006) 35(2):50-56. The authors present and analyze findings from recent studies on climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation in Norway, with the aim of identifying the wider social impacts of climate change.
Recommendations report to the Governor's Subcabinet on Climate Change: Final report from the Immediate Action Workgroup, April 17, 2008
The Immediate Action Workgroup of the (Alaska) Governor's Executive Subcabinet on Climate Change was established to address known threats to communities caused by coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, flooding, and fires, threats that include loss of life, loss of infrastructure, loss of public and private property, and health epidemics. The objective was to create a unifying mechanism to assist the communities of Newtok, Shishmaref, Kivalina, Koyukuk, Unalakleet, and Shaktoolik. (PDF 1.05 MB)
J. Ford et al. Arctic (2007) 60(2):150-166. Research conducted with the communities of Arctic Bay and Igloolik in Nunavut identified key areas where policy can help Inuit reduce their vulnerability to climate change, focusing on the erosion of traditional Inuit knowledge and land-based skills, the weakening of social networks, and a reduction in harvesting flexibility. (PDF, 856.62 KB)
Reindeer management during the colonization of Sami lands: A long-term perspective of vulnerability and adaptation strategies
I. Brännlund, P. Axelsson. Global Environmental Change (2011). Reindeer husbandry's strong connection to the land, together with the ongoing climate-change debate, has generated growing interest in its socio-ecological resilience and vulnerability. Here, using historical sources, the authors analyze the vulnerability of reindeer husbandry (and the Sami societies that depended on it) in Sweden during the 19th century, demonstrating that, although reindeer management was a much more diverse enterprise at that time than it is now, the major adaptation strategy and constraining forces were similar to those of today.
Final report of a conference held 20-24 April 2009, Anchorage, Alaska. The summit enabled indigenous peoples from all regions of the globe to exchange their knowledge and experience in adapting to the impacts of climate change, and to develop key messages and recommendations to be articulated to the world at the fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP-15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. (PDF 876.81 KB)
G.W. Yohe. Ambio (2006) 35(2):89-91. This article highlights three sources of concern about the way that uncertainty in our understanding of the climate system is portrayed to decision-makers. These concerns include a continued reliance on the cost-benefit paradigm to organize their thoughts, the implicit acceptance of the notion that uncertainty will decline over time, and the persistent omission of adaptation as a significant source of uncertainty.
G. Kofinas et al. Polar Research (2000) 19(1):3-21. In February 1999, eighty scientists, reindeer/caribou users, and resource managers gathered in Rovaniemi, Finland, for an interdisciplinary workshop to develop a circumpolar research plan that addressed the sustainability of human/reindeer/caribou systems.
Resonance strategies of SÃ¡mi reindeer herders in northernmost Finland during climatically extreme years
T. Vuojala-Magga et al. Arctic (2011) 64(2):227-241. This study focuses on the resonance strategies of Sámi2007. "Resonance" is an instinctive and indwelling reaction of a herder to a specific change (in contrast to coping, which is a more general response). The study is based on interviews with herders, field experiences, reindeer population statistics, and weather data. (PDF, 1.37 MB)
D. Riedlinger. Arctic (2001) 54(1):96-98. This project is a collaborative research effort documenting Inuvialuit knowledge of climate change and the contributions of this knowledge to climate change research. A secondary goal is to understand adaptive strategies used by the community to respond to climate change phenomena. (PDF, 688.43)
Responding to global climate change: The perspective of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment
S. Watt-Cloutier et al., Inuit Circumpolar Council, 2004. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) prepared by the eight-nation Arctic Council was formally presented to council ministers at their biennial meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 24 November 2004. This paper outlines the perspective of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) on the policy recommendations that accompanied the ACIA.
D. Brändström. Ambio (2006) 35(4):212. These are the closing comments from the Carl XVI Gustaf Royal Colloquium 2005.
ESA News, April 1, 2009. Arctic reindeer herders are facing the challenges of adapting to climate change as a warmer Arctic climate makes it harder for herds to find food and navigate. To help them adapt, the ESA-backed Polar View initiative is providing the herders with satellite-based snow maps.
J.D. Ford et al. Climate Research (2009) 38:137-154. The Arctic is undergoing rapid climatic and environmental change, most notably in the spatial extent and thickness of the sea ice. Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic are directly affected by these changes, with dramatic change in sea ice conditions documented in recent years. The authors use a case study from the Inuit community of Igloolik to examine the processes and conditions shaping human vulnerability to sea ice change. (PDF, 688.43 KB)
M. Dowsley et al. Inuit Studies (2010) 34(1):151-165. The authors' research indicates that gender helps shape Inuit knowledge of environmental change, as well as social responses to perceptions of change. By examining women's perceptions of environmental change, they draw attention to the social aspects and also highlight how women can contribute to adaptation, not only to physical changes but also to the resulting social changes.
K-D Gardner, Discovery News, April 15, 2008. Video about changes happening to Alaska ecosystems and communities due to climate change. [4:24 min]
L. Hamilton et al. Climatic Change (2000) 47(1-2):193-211. Developments in 20th-century Greenland resemble patterns of human-environment interactions in the medieval Norse settlements, suggesting some general propositions relevant to the human dimensions of climatic change.
J. Kruse et al. Polar Geography (2011) 34(1-2):1-143. This special issue of Polar Geography contains articles on each of the four arenas of human activity likely to involve climate-human interactions: (1) subsistence hunting; (2) tourism; (3) resource development and marine transportation; and (4) commercial fishing. Articles include: Arctic Observing Network Social Indicators Project: Overview • Developing an Arctic subsistence observation system • Observing trends and assessing data for Arctic mining • Social indicators for Arctic tourism: Observing trends and assessing data • Arctic observing network social indicators and northern commercial fisheries • Linking pan-Arctic human and physical data • Next steps toward an Arctic human dimensions observing system
D.L. Forbes, ed. (2011). This report addresses a recognized need for a more detailed assessment of the impacts of environmental and social change in the Arctic coastal zone. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA, 2005) provided an overall synthesis of observed and anticipated impacts on social and ecological systems in the Arctic, but did not attempt a focused treatment of the coastal zone. (6.90 MB, archived webpage)
Dr. Robert K. Musil, author of the book Hope for a Heated Planet, spoke to the Alaska World Affairs Council on November 13, 2009. This recording aired on KSKA Public Radio's "Addressing Alaskans" on December 10, 2009. Dr. Musil specializes in contemporary global security, sustainability, and health. (MP3, 26.9 MB), [58:57 min] This interviews requires the use of the QuickTime, which can be downloaded from QuickTime's Web site at no charge.
W. Steffen et al. Ambio (2007) 36(8):614-621. Global warming and many other human-driven changes to the environment are raising concerns about the future of Earth's environment and its ability to provide the services required to maintain viable human civilizations. The consequences of this unintended experiment of humankind on its own life support system are hotly debated, but worst-case scenarios paint a gloomy picture for the future of contemporary societies.
This is a series of articles published in the New York Times in October 2005 describing the effects of warming on the environment and on the four million people who live in the Arctic, and scientists' assessments of the inevitability of Arctic melting. Included are three videos: The Arctic Ice Cap where Andrew C. Revkin looks at the melting of the Arctic ice cap [7:19 min], Sampling the Ice where Revkin describes an expedition to drill samples in the Arctic [5:23 min], and Arctic Fisheries where Simon Romero looks at how changes in the Arctic may affect the Norwegian fishing industry [1:52 min].
The Observer, guardian.co.uk, October 3, 2010. In the first of a series of dispatches, Stephen Pax Leonard reports on the unique culture of the Inughuit as the sea ice that has supported their ancient way of life melts beneath them.
The impacts of global climate change in the Bering Sea region: An assessment conducted by the International Arctic Science Committee under its Bering Sea Impacts Study (BESIS)
Results of an international workshop that was part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Arctic Science Conference held in Girdwood, Alaska, 18-21 September 1996, published in 1997 by the Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research, UAF. Observed climate-related trends and changes over the past few decades make the Bering Sea Impacts Study (BESIS) in the Western Arctic/Bering Sea region of particular interest in assessing the regional impacts of change. (PDF, 1.03 MB)
S. Wheeler, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009, 315 pages. Over several years, Wheeler travels to Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the White Seaâon migration with Sami reindeer herders, interviewing scientists on the Greenland ice sheet, driving the Alaska pipeline haul roadâand writes, "The Arctic is the lead player in the drama of climate change.... Survival of civilization as we know it hangs on what happens in the Arctic."
S.L. Blakney. Arctic (2008) 61(Suppl 1):4-6. The Coastal Zone Canada (CZC) Association is an organization interested in promoting integrated coastal zone management goals in Canada and abroad. It holds an international conference every two years to promote these goals. The Northern Forum was provided as a special venue where Inuit leaders could formulate views and recommendations regarding CZC conference topics and priorities. ((PDF, 33.51 KB)
M. Robards, L. Alessa. Arctic (2004) 57(4):415-427. Historical relationships between people and a changing Arctic environment (which constitute a social-ecological system, or SES) can offer insights for management that promote both social and ecological resilience. (PDF, 439 KB)
Toward an integrated coastal sea-ice observatory: System components and a case study at Barrow, Alaska
M.L. Druckenmiller et al. Cold Regions Science and Technology (2009) 56(2-3):61-72. The morphology, stability and duration of seasonal landfast sea ice in Alaska's coastal zone is changing alongside large-scale ice thinning and retreat. The extent and complexity of change at the local level requires an integrated observing approach to assess implications of such change for coastal ecosystems and communities that rely on or make use of the sea-ice cover.
S.F. Trainor et al. Alaska Park Science (2009) 8(2):106-109. This study presents a tourism climate index based on hourly weather data. Results indicate that climate warming has had both positive and negative effects on opportunities for tourism. The overall weather conditions for sightseeing in King Salmon have improved significantly, along with a lengthening of the season. Conversely, weather conditions for skiing in Anchorage have deteriorated since the 1940s. (PDF, 396 KB)
M.A. MacNeil et al. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365(1558):3753-3763. Global climate change has the potential to substantially alter the production and community structure of marine fisheries and modify the ongoing impacts of fishing. Using case studies from the Western Indian Ocean, the North Sea, and the Bering Sea, the authors contextualize the direct and indirect effects of climate change on production and biodiversity and, in turn, on the social and economic aspects of marine fisheries.
F. Duerden. Arctic (2004) 57(2):204-212. It is well recognized that climate change will have considerable impact on the physical landscapes of northern Canada. How these impacts will be transmitted to the level of human activity is not clear, but it needs to be understood by governments and other decision makers to help them identify and implement appropriate approaches to ameliorate the effects of climate change. (PDF, 43 KB)
T.D. Pearce et al. Proceedings of the Fourth Northern Research Forum (2006). This paper presents research that integrates natural and social science data with the knowledge from community members to document the implications of climate change for travel routes used by community members in Ulukhaktok to access seasonal harvesting grounds, and how policy decisions can enhance capacity to adapt in the future. It outlines steps for engaging Arctic communities in climate change research and describes an approach to assessing vulnerability. (PDF, 244.7 KB)
Travelling and hunting in a changing Arctic: Assessing Inuit vulnerability to sea ice change in Igloolik, Nunavut
G.J. Laidler et al. Climatic Change (2009) 94:363-397 The observations of community members and instrumental records indicate changes in sea ice around the Inuit community of Igloolik, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. (PDF, 849.3 KB)
Report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2009. This report casts a light on one of the most critical aspects of adaptation—ensuring that infrastructure is resilient over its lifespan in the face of climate change. The report shows how we can use existing risk management tools to reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities and adapt more effectively to climate change in Canada's North. (PDF, 6.13 MB)
CBC News, September 8, 2009. Seas rising from global warming and land sinking as permafrost thaws are threatening the Arctic community of Tuktoyaktuk.
Wawatay News, April 29, 2010. Kashechewan's hunters are not bringing home enough geese to stock up for the coming summer months.
Report prepared by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2005. The purpose of this report is to compile a number of "vital" Arctic graphics that describe the Arctic, the livelihoods of Arctic indigenous peoples, and the future well-being of this region. It summarizes some key threats that endanger the future sustainability of the Arctic. (PDF, 11.8 MB)
Report prepared by Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), 2009. This document constitutes the final report of the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group's project on Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Arctic (VACCA). (PDF, 976.9 KB)
Vulnerability and resilience in the face of climate change: Current research and needs for population information
Report prepared by Battelle Memorial Institute for Population Action International, August 2009. With the exception of the livelihoods approach, there is limited research that integrates household configurations and patterns of resource use, sources of vulnerability, and the role public health (including reproductive health) can play in resilience to climate change. (PDF, 277.44 KB)
J.D. Ford et al. Polar Record (2006) 42(221):127-138. This paper argues that the starting point to understand how future climate change may affect communities is analysis of past and present experience of, and response to, climate variability and change.
J.D. Ford et al. Global Environmental Change (2006) 16(2):145-160. Inuit in Arctic Bay have demonstrated significant adaptability in the face of changing climate-related exposures. This adaptability is facilitated by traditional Inuit knowledge, strong social networks, flexibility in seasonal hunting cycles, some modern technologies, and economic support. Changing Inuit livelihoods, however, have undermined certain aspects of adaptive capacity and have resulted in emerging vulnerabilities in certain sections of the community.
K. O'Brien et al. Climatic Change (2004) 64(1-2):193-225. This paper explores the issue of climate vulnerability in Norway, an affluent country that is generally considered to be resilient to the impacts of climate change. In presenting a multi-scale assessment of climate change impacts and vulnerability in Norway, the authors show that the concept of vulnerability depends on the scale of analysis.
B. Evengard, ed. Global Health Action (2011) 4. This volume is a compilation of research-based evidence that highlights the effects of climate change on human health and living conditions in the arctic region. While emphasizing the need for more research on the subject, it also discusses what can and should be done to strengthen the capacities of societies to manage and overcome disturbances. (PDF, 2.52 MB)
P.A. Loring et al. Arctic (2011) 64(1):73-88. This paper compares two case studies in Alaska, one on commercial fishers of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region and the other on moose hunters of Interior Alaska, to identify how governance arrangements and management strategies enhance or limit people's ability to respond effectively to changing climatic and environmental conditions.
BBC News Magazine, April 2, 2008. Dan Cruickshank, host of BBC's Adventures in Architecture, traveled to Greenland to learn how igloos are made. There he was told that igloo construction is a dying art, partly because of changing cultureâyounger Inuit prefer to live in timber houses flown in from Denmark and have little interest in learning the mystery of igloo constructionâbut perhaps more because of climate change.
What if and so what in northwest Canada: Could climate change make a difference to the future of the Mackenzie Basin?
S. Cohen. Arctic (1997) 50(4):293-307. Science and policy responses, mostly concerning emission reductions, have received considerable attention from governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), universities, and the private sector. The research effort, however, has not given equal attention to the "other dimension" of global warmingâadaptation to the projected impacts of climate change scenarios. (PDF, 805.5 KB)
C. Tesar et al. Northern Perspectives (2007) 31(1). The theme of this issue of Northern Perspectives is the impact of declining caribou herds on the well-being of the aboriginal residents of northern Canada. (PDF, 1.61 MB)
What we know, do not know, and need to know about climate change vulnerability in the western Canadian Arctic: A systematic literature review
J.D. Ford, T. Pearce. Environmental Research Letters (2010) 5:DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/014008. This review identifies the importance of targeted vulnerability research that works closely with community members and other stakeholders to address research needs. At a broader level, the review methodology offers a tool for climate/environmental change studies in general where there is a large and emerging body of research but limited understanding of research gaps and needs. (PDF, 1.02 MB)
D.D. Breshears et al. Ambio (2011) 40(3):256-263. Stakeholders using portable services, or stakeholders who can move to other locations to obtain services, may be more resilient to ecosystem crashes. The authors suggest that entering into cooperative networks with regionally distributed stakeholders is key to building resilience to big, fast, patchy crashes.
This is a slide presentation given at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on December 15, 2009, by Larry Hartig, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and Chair of the Governor's Climate Change Subcabinet. (PDF, 11.64 MB)