Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Riding the winds of change

21.02.2007
The Inuit have spent thousands of years working and living in the Arctic. However, climate change is forcing them to change the traditional way of doing things.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council grantee Barry Smit says the Inuit are sometimes not being given the tools they need to make the correct decisions for their lifestyles. He will lead a discussion to probe this issue – part of a larger problem of bridging knowledge across disciplines – at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The conference will be held Feb. 15 to 19 in San Francisco.

"We have plenty of climate change models for the Arctic, but often they do not measure the things the Inuit rely on to make the best decision on how to use their resources," says Smit, a University of Guelph researcher and the Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change, whose integrative research is also supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

He and his colleagues make periodic journeys to coastal Inuit communities such as Arctic Bay, at the north end of Baffin Island. There, they study how the Inuit are adapting to climate change. What interests Smit is that the transfer of knowledge between the old and the young does not happen as often – and the knowledge itself is no longer as relevant.

"The young are spending much more time in school. That's time they used to spend out with their elders, learning how to hunt and fish," says Smit. "But even if they were out on the land, the lessons their elders have to teach them no longer apply. A generation ago, Inuit used dogs to travel over sea ice. Now they use snowmobiles, which are faster and more convenient, but don't sense thin ice like dogs do. As ice becomes more unpredictable with climate change, this is becoming a serious problem. Degradation of the permafrost is affecting travel on the land and the stability of some structures."

Bridging the gap between scientific and traditional knowledge is the impetus Smit uses as part of ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence that studies the impact of climate change in the North.

"There are a couple of examples. For the Inuit, the strength and direction of the wind is important for their travel and safety. They also take note of changing ice breakup patterns, how close to the shore the ice is melting, and how quickly it is disintegrating. But we, the scientists, have detailed information on temperature, but less on the relationships between ice behaviour and Inuit travel and livelihoods."

Smit hopes that the case study at Arctic Bay will show other scientists the value of networking across disciplines. That way, the work that science researchers do will benefit as many people as possible – those doing the science, and those affected by it.

Doré Dunne | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nserc.ca

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>