Nunat Climate Observations Database
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The Nunat Climate Observations Database is part of a broader website (www.nunat.net) created to facilitate the exchange of tribal observations of climate, land, and subsistence changes in Native Villages in Alaska. The database is searchable by geographic location, date range, and type of change, and is supplemented by additional information on stressors (e.g., contaminants) that may exacerbate the effects of climate change.
The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council is a non-profit organization that advocates for Alaska Tribal governments. The Council provides technical assistance, facilitates communication and collaboration, and offers public education on Tribal issues. One of the Tribal programs is the Nunat website. Nunat means “lands” in the Yup’ik language or “villages” or “communities” in other languages.
Nunat is described as “an Alaska Village environmental information exchange site” that provides information on contaminants, resource development, and subsistence issues, and provides a discussion forum for tribal members. Funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Information Exchange Network Program.
The Contaminants and Resource Development sections offer information on existing contaminant threats and mining issues, respectively. Under the Subsistence Resources section, individual pages are available for two databases on Fish and Climate Observations. The Fish Observations Database allows for the exchange of information about unusual fish that are new to the region or found outside their normal range, and fish exhibiting altered behavior or suffering from some disease or deformity. This database also provides a record of fish subsistence activities and the changes that are being observed by Native Villages.
The Climate Observations Database provides a centralized location where Native Villages can organize and share environmental observations. Submissions are encouraged on existing, seasonal, and long-term observations, especially from elders in the villages. These observations will create the larger context from which to view climate changes in these communities. Climate observations are recorded through stories, pictures, and video and audio files. The database is searchable by geographic location, date range, and category (e.g., sea ice, weather, snow, plants, animals, water quantity/quality, erosion, cultural or traditional observations, etc.).
Outcomes and Conclusions
Natives in the Arctic and subarctic climates are often the first to witness climatic changes. The Nunat site acts as a focal point from which Alaska Villages and their residents can document and exchange information and solutions related to negative impacts, such as those brought by climate change, that may affect subsistence lifestyles and cultures.
Project File (s)
Gregg, R. M. (2010). Nunat Climate Observations Database [Case study on a project of the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/nunat-climate-observations-database (Last updated December 2010)