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Combining Inuit and Local Knowledge with Weather and Ice Forecasts for Safe Local Travel in Arctic Canada - Natasha Simonee, Jayko Alooloo, Natalie Carter, Jackie Dawson & Gita Ljubicic

Part of:
9:00 AM, Saturday 5 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Environmental change is increasing risks for local travel in communities across Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homelands) considering the rapid changes to weather, water, ice, and climatic (WWIC) conditions. Historically, Inuit have relied on traditional knowledge to reliably interpret and predict patterns of weather, wind, currents, ice, and waves for decision-making to ensure safe travel. This knowledge continues to be used today, but with changes in climate and related increases in travel-related risks, Inuit are adapting and combining their knowledge with available WWIC data and forecast products in novel and innovative ways. This presentation outlines how community members in Pond Inlet are combining traditional knowledge with modern WWIC forecasting technologies (e.g., marine forecasts, sea ice satellite imagery) for decision-making around safe travel. They are engaging in a novel and adapted form of WWIC forecasting and are then publicly sharing this information with other community members. Their methods rely on a combination of traditional understandings of local weather conditions and numerous on-line products that are available; each with strengths and limitations as it pertains to local use. This approach is enabling local hunters to make better and informed travel decisions. In the presentation, we will further discuss the disconnect between available WWIC technologies and community members’ needs considering changing levels of environmental risks. This information may be helpful to members of other communities with shared experiences, as well as for WWIC operations so that providers can consider what technological adaptations may also be necessary to better suit the local needs of communities across Inuit Nunangat.

McMaster University
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