Community-based assessments of change, contributions of Inuvialuit knowledge to understanding climate change in the Canadian Arctic

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Riedlinger, Dyanna
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An emerging theme in climate research is bridging the gap between Western science and Inuit knowledge of climate change to better understand Arctic climate change. This thesis is encouragement for this theme. Based in part on the collaborative research project 'Inuit Observations of Climate Change' (1999-2000) in Sachs Harbour, Western Canadian Arctic, I describe how local, land-based expertise and community-based assessments can provide observations, predictions and explanations of climate change at scales and in contexts currently underrepresented in climate change research. Firsthand experience working with local experts and scientists is used as a basis for a conceptual framework that explains how to find common ground between Inuvialuit traditional knowledge and Western science. This framework includes five areas of convergence in which traditional knowledge can complement scientific approaches to understanding climate change in the Canadian Arctic. These areas are: the contributions of traditional knowledge (i) as local scale expertise; (ii) as a source of climate history and baseline data; (iii) in formulating research questions and hypotheses; (iv) as insight into impacts and adaptation in Arctic communities; and (v) for long term, community-based monitoring. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)