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Intersections of water,
climate, and humans in the Arctic

Climate Change and Water Resources on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Water is as integral to the culture of humans in the Arctic as it is to global climate and function. In the past 30 years, the climate in the Arctic has warmed appreciably and there is evidence for a significant polar amplification of global warming in the future.The overall objective of the proposed research is to understand the vital role of freshwater in the lives of humans in the Arctic, how it has changed in the recent past, and how it is likely to change in the future. We seek to build a model that will allow us to predict climate-induced changes in the hydrologic cycle and their effects on water quality and availability. We will then attempt to understand how these changes will impact the life and culture of humans in the Arctic. This study is taking place on the Seward Peninsula where climate induced changes in the hydrologic cycle are already being observed. This project will draw upon community interaction, historical documentation, field observations and measurement, and computer modeling.

Dan White measuring conductivity in infiltration gallery pumphouse Infiltration gallery on Cheenik Creek Water storage tank and honeybucket hopper

Next: Seward Peninsula water resources


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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OPP-0328686.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Website questions and comments: Sandra Boatwright
Last updated December 5, 2006 by Molly Chambers
Project questions and comments: Dan White
Photos by Molly Chambers, Dan White, Bob Busey, Anna Liljedahl, Beth Marino, and Erin Strang