Climate Change in Atqasuk, Alaska: Strategies for Community Health

Michael Brubaker, Jake Bell, Heather Dingman, Molly Ahkivgak, Doug Whiteman, Richard Drake
Posted on: 2/13/2017 - Updated on: 1/16/2019

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Understanding local impact of climate change is important for assessing negative and positive effects, and developing appropriate adaptation strategies. In Atqasuk, residents report changes to the weather, seasons, landscape, plants, wildlife and infrastructure, with important implications for public health. Atqasuk is a river community, vulnerable to thawing of permafrost and erosion on the river bank and in tundra lakes. The community is also impacted by weather and vegetation on the land and concerned about how climate change will affect wild food resources. Many of the reported changes are unprecedented and residents are challenged to develop knowledge that will allow them to continue to sustain traditional practices. Climate change in Atqasuk raises new concerns about food and water security, safety and mental health related to the stress of adapting to a new climate and changing environment.