Native Knowledge Helps Scientists Understand Changing Arctic

No other region in United States is experiencing the consequences of climate change more than in Alaska and the Arctic. Native Alaskans lead a life closely connected to the land, the sea, and the sky. The marriage of native knowledge with traditional scientific climate modeling gives a clearer, more refined, and better detailed picture of the likely impacts of climate change at specific locations, helping communities better plan and adapt.

The following video, produced by, provides a good introduction to the idea of native knowledge and science working together for the benefit of all. Check out their their YouTube channel for many more interesting videos on a range of topics.

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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    • I think you may be misreading the animation. It is actually showing quite a bit of change throughout the Arctic polar region. The relatively unmoving white shape (which actually does change if you watch it closely) is, I believe, Greenland.

      In any case, the point of this post is how native knowledge is complementing and enhancing the scientific knowledge that produces these kinds of animations. Talk to people living in the Arctic – they’ll tell you first-hand about a warming and changing climate.

      And all that said, there is absolutely no doubt that Arctic sea-ice has lost both area and mass in the past few decades, and that loss is accelerating.

  1. Actually, if you look at recent data, Arctic sea-ice has reversed and is now increasing. This happens frequently, especially note the 1910-1940 reduction.

    1,000 years ago, during the Medieval Warming Period, the ice left the Arctic Ocean entirely and Inuit peoples migrated from Siberia to Greenland, following migrating whales.

    And, sadly for global warming alarmists, there was no human produced CO2 a thousand years ago.

  2. You had a link citing, I assume, your reference to Arctic ice increase. Unfortunately, it seems to have disappeared in the process of moderating your comment. I’d like to see it. I’d also like to see more about the ice leaving “entirely” during the Medieval Warming.

    I also assume then that you discount the recent research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center that indicates longer melt seasons in the Arctic (up to one month longer than in 1979, and averaging about 20 days), along with a decrease in ice mass (thinner ice, less perennial, multi-season ice).

    “And, sadly for the global warming alarmists, there was no human produced CO2 a thousand years ago.” I’m curious why you felt compelled to add this comment? Do you think “global warming alarmists” are a monolithic entity that all feel sad when presented with evidence of natural climate variation? If so, I wonder why you feel that way? Why cloud an ostensibly science-based argument with this? Do you think your well-choosen words explaining your scientific understanding will then carry more weight and help “alarmists” improve their own understanding?


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