Informing decisions in and about the Arctic

Aerial image of partially submerged icebergs in teal water so dark it's almost black.

Scientists, Indigenous experts, and leaders from governments and commerce are meeting in Anchorage this week to forge new ways of informing decisions in and about the Arctic. Rapid warming is changing the Arctic with pronounced consequences for people in and beyond the region. Decisions made at local, regional, and global scales need to be informed by Indigenous and scientific knowledge conveyed in ways effective for specific audiences. 

This week’s meeting begins a five-year effort by the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)—with funding from the National Science Foundation—to co-produce holistic understanding of the changing Arctic and to share that understanding with diverse decision makers.

The study was co-designed by experts from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Eskimo Walrus Commission, Oregon State University, Stantec, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Michigan, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Wilson Center. Gathering in Anchorage will be Indigenous experts from 13 communities in Alaska, social and natural scientists from 14 institutions, and decision-making experts with experience in local, state, Federal, and international governments. 

Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer, Community Develop Manager at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and a co-Principal Investigator for the project says she is “excited to see Indigenous knowledge and wisdom infused with modern-day science to produce outcomes that will change the future of the Arctic.” 

To hear the voices of Jackie and other project co-designers, all are welcome to listen to the first two episodes of the SEARCH podcast, Out of the Arctic.

Learn more about the Study of Environmental Arctic Change and team members at searcharcticscience.org. Any questions can be directed to SEARCH co-PI and Chief Editor, George Kling: .