Why TREC in the Arctic:
The arctic region is dynamic and complex, projecting a sense of mystery and awe. It is a region of many environments and cultures–polar bears and whales, months of darkness and months of light, indigenous peoples with time-tested solutions to the challenges of surviving in extreme conditions–as well as a region where the tools of modern science are being deployed to help understand puzzling but dramatic events.
In the last few decades, the scientific community has expressed concern about the vulnerability of the Arctic and its residents to environmental, social, and economic changes. Climate models indicate that the arctic environment may react particularly sensitively to global climate change. Recent research results show that arctic climate and ecosystems are changing substantially, with impacts on people living in and outside the Arctic. Many arctic residents are reporting rapid ecosystem change and believe that these developments are affecting their lives in significant ways. These processes appear to be linked to changes in the whole Northern Hemisphere, involving physical and biological processes in the atmosphere, ocean, and on land. We know that many of the phenomena we study in the Arctic, from deepest oceans to the atmosphere above, are part of global processes that affect people all across America.
Local knowledge, oral histories, and Native ways of knowing are important aspects of educating the world about life in the Arctic and the history of the region. People living in the circum-Arctic have coped successfully over millennia with an environment that includes some of the most extreme conditions on the planet, accumulating an extensive body of environmental knowledge as well as keen awareness of ecosystem changes. Arctic residents have a growing desire and capacity to share Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with researchers and the public. The Arctic serves as a laboratory of multidisciplinary research projects using cutting-edge techniques in a challenging environment to address questions at the local, regional and global scale. TREC builds on the outstanding scientific and cultural opportunities of the Arctic to link research and education through intriguing topics that will engage students and a public interested in exploring new regions and scientific mysteries.
To learn more about the Arctic, visit:
Photos courtesy of Hajo Eicken