College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

UNI ARCTICenter Receives Major Grant to Study Arctic Climate Change and Community Adaptation

Posted on Thursday, February 13th, 2020

ARTICenter in the Department of Geography received nearly 1 million dollars research grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a transdisciplinary research project aimed at understanding the adaptation of Arctic communities to sea-ice variability in the Bering Sea coast of Alaska and Russia (Chukotka and Kamchatka). Led by Dr. Tatiana S. Degai and Dr. Andrey N Petrov, the project is a collaboration between UNI, Arizona State University, and University of Alaska- Fairbanks that brings together geographers, anthropologists, political scientists, oceanographers, climatologists and Indigenous scholars. The overall goal of this cross-border study is to understand how to design better and more flexible governance and infrastructure to adapt to changing Arctic conditions. Coproduction of knowledge between local and Indigenous communities and scientists will be used to address key research questions such as: how do people understand, perceive, and adapt to changing sea ice, where are the current and future critical hot spots of variability in sea ice, how will governmental and non-governmental organizations in the region navigate and interact with communities to respond to changing sea ice conditions, and what features of the existing, and potential, social-ecological systems are robust/fragile to forecast changes in sea ice. This project will document diverse narratives and critical policy challenges around biogeophysical changes and associated livelihood and economic opportunities/costs between and within communities through grounded ethnography and cultural consensus analysis. Through this research, the project will derive new understandings of community and institutional responses to change, the impacts of spatial and temporal variability within a trend, and robustness-fragility trade-offs that can be applied to other regions as they navigate transitions around the globe in the Anthropocene.