Giving attention to indigenous knowledge on climatic changes

Article: Weatherhead E. and S. Gearheardand R.G. Barry (2010): Changes in weather persistence: Insight from Inuit knowledge.

I found this paper hugely interesting. The main message as I see it, that indigenous knowledge is important to incorporate regarding climate change research, is a statement that is given growing attention and it will be interesting to follow this development. Not only can collaboration between indigenous and professional knowledge increase understanding of climate change, but it also encourages more mutual respectful collaboration between scientist and locals – which I also perceive as a central issue in attempting to improve adaptation to climate change more generally.

Abstract from journal article:

Since the 1990s, local residents from around the Arctic have reported changes in weather predictability. Examination of environmental measurements have not, until now, helped describe what the local inhabitants have been reporting, in part because prior studies did not focus directly on the persistence aspect of weather. Here we show that there is evidence of changes in persistence in weather over the last two decades for Baker Lake, Nunavut, Canada. Hourly data indicate that for local spring, the persistence of temperature has changed dramatically in the last 15 years with some years showing a strong drop in day-to-day persistence in the local spring afternoons, somewhat at odds with changes in persistence on a more global scale. Changes in daily persistence may have implications for human health, agriculture, and ecosystems worldwide. More importantly, the approach of merging indigenous knowledge with scientific methods may offer unexpected benefits for both.

Worthwhile website to keep on your radar

Click here for link to WorldChanging.

Disaster Risk and Climate Change in Africa

Disaster risk and climate change – two of the greatest challenges currently facing humankind – adversely reinforce each other. In the coming decades, climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as droughts and floods.

Climate change is also likely to increase people’s vulnerability to already existing hazards in developing countries. This is largely due to:

  • socio-economic stresses
  • ageing and inadequate physical infrastructure
  • weak education and preparedness for disasters
  • insufficient financial resources to carefully implement the preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery components of integrated disaster management. Continue reading

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