Understanding Climate-Driven Phenological Change: Observations, Adaptations, and Cultural Implications in Northeastern Siberia and Labrador/Nunatsiavut
Basic Project Information
This project is an interdisciplinary effort to systematically document, model, and interpret key linkages between physical, biological and human systems in the context of changing seasonality (phenology) due to global and local climate change. In line with the CSAS solicitation, the primary research objective of PHENARC is to understand the linkages between Arctic system climate change, altered phenological processes, and adaptations and responses of human societies to these changes to decipher implications for the future. The project’s overarching research questions are: i) What are the key seasonal events that form an integral part of the ecosystems in PHENARC’s two main study areas of northeastern Siberia and Labrador?; ii) How are these seasonal events changing, and what specific phenological shifts are occurring in these study areas?; iii) What are the drivers of these seasonal events, and how do they ripple through/affect the entire system?; iv) How are phenological changes and their resulting ecosystem impacts affecting the timing of people’s subsistence and other activities?; v) How are these societal changes in turn affecting the larger cultural system?
In order to answer such questions, PHENARC will employ qualitative and quantitative methods of field study, retrospective investigations, and modeling/synthesis techniques. Data sources will include: systematic meteorological observations; climate proxy data; documentary historical records; oral history; and data drawn from interviews with contemporary respondents in the project’s two study areas. PHENARC builds upon the solid foundation of Arctic systems data already established by the project PIs in the Arctic/Subarctic regions of northeastern Siberia and Labrador/Nunatsiavut, two arctic regions not extensively studied before, that provide a variety of terrains, and ecosystem and human communities for a robust comparative study. Additionally, the communities differ in cultural and ethnic mix.
PHENARC represents a novel approach to advancing knowledge of key linkages between climate and human systems by integrating Arctic climate data with local knowledge drawn from rural native communities in two distinct arctic regions. PHENARC involves the targeted communities, regional and national specialists, and a team of international collaborators and affiliates. By investigating patterns of seasonality in two disparate arctic regions that are each home to a dynamic contrast of mixed and native settlements, and with a resulting potential transfer of knowledge across scales and international borders, PHENARC’s contribution to global knowledge promises to be considerable with high potential for disseminating widely new knowledge regarding changing seasonality in Arctic climate and human systems. Project is includes a close collaboration with local community residents and the results will be disseminated widely on local, regional, and circumpolar levels.