Community-based observing networks and systems in the Arctic: Human perceptions of environmental change and instrument-derived data

Abstract

Many papers have addressed the differing approaches to observation by scientists collecting instrumented data and by community or local knowledge-based observations. Integrating these ways of knowing is difficult because they operate at different scales and have different goals. It would benefit both scientists and communities to integrate community-based observations and instrumented data, despite obstacles, because it would expand scales of observation and because gauged data in the Arctic are sparse. This requires development of a protocol to integrate these knowledge systems to maximize reliability and validity. We used survey data from a community-based observing network in the Bering Sea and examined the correspondence of community-based observations with instrument-derived data for air temperature, sea ice break-up and freeze-up, and vegetation changes. Results highlight that there is a high correspondence between community-based observations for sea ice and vegetation change and instrumented data, but there is an inherent conflict in scales of observation for air temperature data. This helps to elucidate the benefits of community-based observing as a process for understanding and responding to change in the Arctic.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Achard R, Eva H, Mayaux P (2001) Tropical forest mapping from coarse spatial resolution satellite data: production and accuracy assessment issues. Int J Remote Sens 22(14):2741–2762. https://doi.org/10.1080/01431160120548

  2. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (2012) Subsistence in Alaska: a year 2012 update. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?ADFG=subsistence.main

  3. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (2016) Subsistence division, Community Subsistence Information System (CSIS). http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sb/CSIS/index.cfm?ADFG=harvInfo.harvestCommSelComm

  4. Alaska Ocean Observing System (2016) http://portal.aoos.org/real-time-sensors.php#module-search?lg=8c5dd704-59ad-11e1-bb67-0019b9dae22b&p=proj3857&b=google_hybrid&page=1&tagId=&q=chukchi%2Bsea. Accessed 6 July 2016

  5. Alessa LN, Kliskey A, Williams P, Barton M (2008) Perceptions of change in freshwater in remote resource-dependent arctic communities. Glob Environ Chang 18:153–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2007.05.007

  6. Alessa LN, Kliskey A, Williams P (2010) Forgetting freshwater: technology, values, and distancing in remote arctic communities. Soc Nat Res 23(3):254–268. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920802454813.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Alessa L, Kliskey A, Drukenmiller M, Griffith D, McKann H, Myers B, Pulsifer P, Beaujean G, Behe C, Jackson L (2016a) Best practices for community-based observing. Moscow, ID: Center for Resilient Communities, University of Idaho. http://www.uidaho.edu/caa/galleries-centers-and-lab/crc/news

  8. Alessa L, Kliskey A, Gamble J, Fidel M, Beaujean G, Gosz J (2016b) The role of indigenous science and local knowledge in integrated observing systems: moving toward adaptive capacity indices and early warning systems. Sustain Sci 11(1):91–102. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-015-0295-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Alexander C, Bynum N, Johnson E, King U, Mustonen T, Neofotis P, Oettle N, Rosenzweig C, Sakakibara C, Shadrin V, Vicarelli A, Waterhouse J, Weeks B (2011) Linking Indigenous Knowledge and scientific knowledge of climate change. BioScience 61(6):477–484. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.6.10

  10. Ambrose WG Jr, Clough LM, Johnson JC, Greenacre M, Griffith DC, Carroll ML, Whiting A (2014) Interpreting environmental change in coastal Alaska using traditional and scientific ecological knowledge. Front Mar Sci 1 article 40. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2014.00040

  11. Berger M, Mamdani M, Atkins D, Johnson M (2009) Good research practices for comparative effectiveness research: defining, reporting and interpreting nonrandomized studies of treatment effects using secondary sources. Value Health 12(8):1044–1052. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1524-4733.2009.00600.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Berkes F, Colding J, Folke C (2000) Rediscovery of traditional ecological knowledge as adaptive management. Ecol Appl 10(5):1251–1262. https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761

  13. Brewster K (2004) The whales they give themselves: conversations with Harry Brower, Sr. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks

    Google Scholar 

  14. Brubaker MY, Bell JN, Berner JE, Warren JA (2011) Climate change health assessment: a novel approach for Alaska Native communities. Int J Circumpolar Health 70(3):266–273. https://doi.org/10.3402/ijch.v70i3.17820

  15. Clark A (2013) Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science. Behav Brain Sci 35:181–253. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X12000477

    Google Scholar 

  16. Cleveland RB, Cleveland WS, McRae JE, Terpenning I (1990) STL: a seasonal-trend decomposition procedure based on Loess. J Off Stat 6(1):3–73

    Google Scholar 

  17. Collings P (2011) Economic strategies, community, and food networks in Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories Canada. Arctic 64(2):207–219. https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic4100

  18. Community Observation Network for Adaptation and Security (CONAS) (n.d.) http://conas-ak.org/. Accessed 6 July 2016

  19. Csavina J, Roberti JA, Taylor JR, Loescher HW (2017) Traceable measurements and calibration: a primer on uncertainty analysis. Ecosphere 8(2):e01683. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1683

  20. Dickersin K, Berlin J (1992) Meta-analysis: state of the science. Epidemiol Rev 14(1):154–176. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.epirev.a036084

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Eicken H, Lee O (2013) Status of current observing system, White Paper Synthesis Brief of the Arctic Observing Summit, Vancouver, BC, Canada. http://www.arcticobservingsummit.org/users/white_papers.php

  22. Eklundh L, Jönsson P (2015) TIMESAT: a software package for time-series processing and assessment of vegetation dynamics. In: Kuenzer C, Dech S, Wagner W (eds) Remote sensing time series. Springer International, pp 141–158. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15967-6_7

  23. Fernandez-Llamazares A, Diaz-Reviriego I, Luz AC, Cabeza M, Pyhala A, Reyes-Garcia V (2015) Rapid ecosystem change challenges the adaptive capacity of Local Environmental Knowledge. Glob Environ Chang 31:272–284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.02.001

  24. Fienup-Riordan A, Carmack E (2011) The ocean is always changing: nearshore and farshore perspectives on Arctic Coastal Seas. Oceanography 24(3):266–279. https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.78

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Ford JD, Pearce T (2012) Climate change vulnerability and adaptation research focusing on the Inuit subsistence sector in Canada: directions for future research. Can Geogr 56(2):275–287. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-0064.2012.00418.x

  26. Ford JD, Pearce T, Gilligan J, Smit B, Oakes J (2008) Climate change and hazards associated with ice use in Northern Canada. Arct Antarct Alp Res 40(4):647–649. https://doi.org/10.1657/1523-0430(07-040)[FORD]2.0.CO;2

  27. Frey KE, Moore GWK, Cooper LW, Grebmeier JM (2015) Divergent patterns of recent sea ice cover across the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas of the Pacific Arctic Region. Prog Oceanogr 136:32–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2015.05.009

  28. Gearheard S, Pocernich M, Stewart R, Sanguya J, Huntington HP (2010) Linking Inuit knowledge and meteorological station observations to understand changing wind patterns at Clyde River, Nunavut. Clim Chang 100:267–294. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-009-9587-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Grebmeier JM (2012) Shifting patterns of life in the Pacific Arctic and Sub-Arctic Seas. Annu Rev Mar Sci 4:63–78. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-marine-120710-100926

  30. Gupta SV (2012) Measurement uncertainties: physical parameters and calibration of instruments. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. https://doi.org/10.1007/978–3–642-20989-5

    Google Scholar 

  31. Harris IPDJ, Jones PD, Osborn TJ, Lister DH (2014) Updated high-resolution grids of monthly climatic observations-the CRU TS3. 10 Dataset. Int J Climatol 34(3):623–642. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.3711

  32. Herman-Mercer N, Schuster PF, Maracle KB (2011) Indigenous observations of climate change in the Lower Yukon River Basin, Alaska. Hum Organ 70(3):244–252. https://doi.org/10.17730/humo.70.3.v88841235897071m

  33. Hoffman DD, Prakash C (2014) Objects of consciousness. Front Psychol 5, article 577. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00577

  34. Hoffman DD, Singh M, Prakash C (2015) The interface theory of perception. Psychon Bull Rev 22(6):1480–1506. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-015-0890-8

  35. Huntington HP, Callaghan T, Fox S, Krupnik I (2004) Matching traditional and scientific observations to detect environmental change: a discussion on arctic terrestrial ecosystems. Ambio Special report #13, 18–23

  36. Huntington HP, Noongwook G, Bond NA, Benter B, Snyder JA, Zhang J (2013) The influence of wind and ice on spring walrus hunting success on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Deep Sea Res II Top Stud Oceanogr 94:312–322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.03.016

  37. Jia GJ, Epstein HE, Walker DA (2003) Greening of Arctic Alaska, 1981–2001. Geophys Res Lett 30. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2003GL018268/full

  38. Jolly D, Berkes F, Castleden J, Nichols T, the community of Sachs Harbour (2002) We can’t predict the weather like we used to. In: Krupnik I, Jolly D (eds) The earth is faster now: indigenous observations of environmental change. Fairbanks, Arctic Research Consortium of the United States 384 pp

    Google Scholar 

  39. Jönsson P, Eklundh L (2002) Seasonality extraction by function fitting to time-series of satellite sensor data. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 40(8):1824–1832. https://doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2002.802519

  40. Kane DL, Stuefer SL (2015) Reflecting on the status of precipitation data collection in Alaska: a case study. Hydrol Res 46(4):478–493. https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2014.023

  41. Karl TR, Williams CN Jr (1987) An approach to adjusting climatological time series for discontinuous inhomogeneities. J Clim Appl Meteorol 26(12):1744–1763. https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0450(1987)026<1744:AATACT>2.0.CO;2

  42. Klein JA, Hopping KA, Yeh ET, Nyima Y, Boone RB, Galvin KA (2014) Unexpected climate impacts on the Tibetan Plateau: local and scientific knowledge in findings of delayed summer. Glob Environ Chang 28:141–152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.03.007

  43. Lavie N, Hirst A, de Fockert JW, Vidding E (2004) Load theory of selective attention and cognitive control. J Exp Psychol Gen 133(3):339–354. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.133.3.339

  44. Lynch P (2016) 2016 climate trends continue to break records. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2465/2016-climate-trends-continue-to-break-records/

  45. Magnuson S (2014) New satellite systems to boost communication coverage in Arctic. National Defense. http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2014/August/pages/NewSatelliteSystemstoBoostCommunicationCoverageinArctic.aspx

  46. Mahoney A, Eicken H, Shapiro L, Gaylord A (2006) Mapping and characterization of recurring spring leads and landfast ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Mineral Management Service. AK-03-06, MMS-71707

  47. Marsh ET (2007) Retelling is not the same as recalling: implications for memory. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 16(1):16–20. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00467.x

  48. Meier WN, Gerland S, Granskog MA, Key JR, Haas C, Hovelsrud GK, Kovacs KM, Makshtas A, Michel C, Perovich D, Reist JD, van Oort BEH (2011) Sea ice. In: Arctic monitoring and assessment programme, snow, water, ice and permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA): climate change and the cryosphere. Oslo, Norway. xii + 538 pp. Available at http://www.amap.no/documents/doc/arctic-climate-issues-2011-changes-in-arctic-snow-water-ice-and-permafrost/129

  49. National Research Council (2006) Toward an integrated Arctic observing network. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11607.html

  50. New M, Hulme M, Jones P (2000) Representing twentieth-century space-time climate variability. Part II: Development of 1901–96 monthly grids of terrestrial surface climate. J Clim 13(13):2217–2238. https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(2000)013<2217:RTCSTC>2.0.CO;2

  51. Pachur T, Todd PM, Gigerenzer G, Schooler LJ, Goldstein DG (2012) When is the recognition heuristic an adaptive tool? In: Todd PM, Gigerenzer G (eds) Ecological rationality: intelligence in the world. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 113–143

    Google Scholar 

  52. Pattison RR, Jorgenson JC, Raynolds MK, Welker JM (2015) Trends in NDVI and tundra community composition in the Arctic of northeast Alaska between 1984 and 2009. Ecosystems 18(4):707–719. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-015-9858-9

  53. Pearce TD, Ford JD, Laidler GJ, Smit B, Duerden F, Allarut M, Andrachuck M, Baryluk S, Dialla A, Elee P, Goose A, Ikummaq T, Joamie E, Kataoyak F, Loring E, Meakin S, Nickels S, Shappa K, Shirley J, Wandel J (2009) Community collaboration and climate change research in the Canadian Arctic. Polar Res 28:10–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-8369.2008.00094.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Prno J, Bradshaw B, Wandel J, Pearce T, Smit B, Tozer L (2011) Community vulnerability to climate change in the context of other exposure-sensitivities in Kugluktuk, Nunavut. Polar Res 30:7363. https://doi.org/10.3402/polar.v30i0.7363

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Raichlan DA, Wood BM, Gordon AD, Magulla AZP, Marlowe FW, Pontzer H (2014) Evidence of Lévy walk foraging patterns in human hunter-gatherers. Proc Natl Sci Acad 111(2):728–733. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1318616111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Ramnath A (2014) ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ and ‘Science’ in the age of globalization. IIM Kozhikode Soc Manag Rev 3(1):101–107. https://doi.org/10.1177/2277975214532180

  57. Robards MD, Kitaysky AS, Burns JJ (2013) Physical and sociocultural factors affecting walrus subsistence at three villages in the northern Bering Sea: 1952–2004. Polar Geogr 36(1–2):65–85. https://doi.org/10.1080/1088937X.2013.765519

  58. Russian Census (2010) https://en.rian.ru/infographics/20111222/170405728.html

  59. Sand Point, Alaska (2014) http://www.sandpointak.com/

  60. Shimada K, Kamoshida T, Itoh M, Nishino S, Carmack E, McLaughlin F, Zimmermann S, Proshutinsky A (2006) Pacific Ocean inflow: influence on catastrophic reduction of sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean. Geophys Res Lett 33(8): (L08605). https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GL025624

  61. Smith DA, Vodden K, Woodrow M, Khan A, Furst B (2014) The last generation? Perspectives of inshore fish harvesters from Change Islands, Newfoundland. Can Geogr 58(1):95–109. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-0064.2013.12053.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Stefanucci JK, Proffitt DR (2009) The roles of altitude and fear in the perception of height. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 35(2):424–439. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013894

  63. Stow D, Daeschner S, Hope A, Douglas D, Petersen A, Myneni R, Zhou L, Oechel W (2003) Variability of the seasonally integrated normalized difference vegetation index across the north slope of Alaska in the 1990s. Int J Remote Sens 24(5):1111–1117. https://doi.org/10.1080/0143116021000020144

  64. Stroeve J, Serreze M, Holland M, Kay J, Melanik J, Barrett A (2012) The Arctic’s rapidly shrinking sea ice cover: a research synthesis. Clim Chang 110:1005–1027. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0101-1

  65. Stroeve JC, Markus T, Boisvert L, Miller J, Barrett A (2014) Changes in Arctic melt season and implications for sea ice loss. Geophys Res Lett 41(4):1216–1225. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013GL058951

  66. United Nations (2008) United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, March 2008. United Nations

  67. United States Census, American FactFinder (2010) http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml

  68. Verbyla D (2008) The greening and browning of Alaska based on 1982–2003 satellite data. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 17(4):547–555. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2008.00396.x

  69. Weatherhead E, Gearheard S, Barry RG (2010) Changes in weather persistence: insight from Inuit Knowledge. Glob Environ Chang 20(3):523–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.02.002

  70. Wentz FJ, Matthias S (2000) Precise climate monitoring using complementary satellite data sets. Nature 403(27):414–416. https://doi.org/10.1038/35000184

  71. Witt JK, Dorsch TE (2009) Kicking to bigger uprights: field goal kicking performance influences perceived size. Perception 38(9):1328–1340. https://doi.org/10.1068/p6325

  72. Woodgate RA, Weingartner T, Lindsay R (2010) The 2007 Bering Strait oceanic heat flux and anomalous Arctic Sea-ice retreat. Geophys Res Lett 37:L01602. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009GL041621

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Xiong X, Sun J, Barnes W, Salomonson V, Esposito J, Erives H, Guenther B (2007) Multiyear on-orbit calibration and performance of Terra MODIS reflective solar bands. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 45(4):879–889. https://doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2006.890567

  74. Zak A (2016) This luxury cruise ship will soon sail through the Arctic. Here’s what that means for Alaska. The Alaska Dispatch News. http://www.adn.com/arctic/2016/06/12/this-luxury-cruise-ship-will-soon-sail-through-the-arctic-heres-what-that-means-for-alaska/

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the residents of the villages of Nikolskoye, Tymlat, Kanchalan, Togiak, Sand Point, Savoonga, and Gambell for their contributions to BSSN and CONAS observing networks on which this study is based. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (awards #0856774, #0856305, #1355238, and #1642847). The views of the authors are an official finding of the Center for Resilient Communities but do not reflect those of the National Science Foundation, Aleut International Association, the Native communities who participated in this study, the Alaska Center for Conservation Science, or the University of Alaska. We acknowledge support of the Arctic Alaska Observatory and Knowledge Hub through Community Service Payments made by a corporate defendant convicted of Federal environmental and maritime crimes. This study is also funded by Alaska EPSCoR NSF award #OIA-1208927 and the state of Alaska.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paula Williams.

Additional information

Editor: Erica Smithwick.

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1

(PDF 797 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Williams, P., Alessa, L., Abatzoglou, J.T. et al. Community-based observing networks and systems in the Arctic: Human perceptions of environmental change and instrument-derived data. Reg Environ Change 18, 547–559 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-017-1220-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Community-based observing
  • Community-based observing networks
  • Local place-based knowledge
  • Perception
  • Environmental change
  • Instrumented data