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 AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice
24.04.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Climate change in a warmer-than-modern world: New findings of Kiel Researchers
24.04.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>