, Volume 82, Issue 1-2, pp 77-92
Date: 16 Mar 2007

The influence of human activity in the Arctic on climate and climate impacts

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Abstract

Human activities in the Arctic are often mentioned as recipients of climate-change impacts. In this paper we consider the more complicated but more likely possibility that human activities themselves can interact with climate or environmental change in ways that either mitigate or exacerbate the human impacts. Although human activities in the Arctic are generally assumed to be modest, our analysis suggests that those activities may have larger influences on the arctic system than previously thought. Moreover, human influences could increase substantially in the near future. First, we illustrate how past human activities in the Arctic have combined with climatic variations to alter biophysical systems upon which fisheries and livestock depend. Second, we describe how current and future human activities could precipitate or affect the timing of major transitions in the arctic system. Past and future analyses both point to ways in which human activities in the Arctic can substantially influence the trajectory of arctic system change.