Impacts

Between 2010 and 2012 we documented the climate change impacts being witnessed by residents of Savoonga and Shaktoolik (please see below).  Their local and traditional ecological knowledge of environmental change in the Bering Strait Region is rich, vast, and nuanced in its specificity to their location and region.As published in Ignatowski and Rosales (2014), we documented the following environmental changes related to climate change in a manner that they understand the change:

  • The coastline is not as flat as it used to be
  • Beaches are not as wide as they used to be
  • The size of the grains on the beaches has changed
  • Icebergs don’t come here anymore
  • Summers are now longer
  • Fall weather now lasts later into the year
  • Winters do not last as long as they used to
  • It rains more now
  • It now rains in the winter
  • It now rains more days in a row
  • You can now see melting permafrost along the coast
  • Lakes on the tundra are disappearing now
  • There is less snow on the tundra now
  • The tundra is breaking off more into the ocean
  • The tundra is breaking off more in to the rivers
  • There is now more sediment going in to the rivers
  • There is more freshwater going into the rivers and ocean
  • The ocean is getting less salty
  • Ocean currents are moving faster
  • Storms are stronger now
  • Storms are more dangerous now
  • People are now scared of the storms
  • High tides now rise higher on the land
  • Low tides don’t go down as far as they used to
  • The sea ice goes out earlier in the spring
  • When the sea ice goes out, it goes out faster
  • The sea ice is not as thick as it used to be
  • There is now less shorefast ice
  • There is now less older ice left over from the previous year or years
  • It is harder now to know what the weather if going to be like from day to day
  • The weather changes quickly now, it is not consistent
  • The prevailing wind direction has changed
  • The wind now changes more often
  • It is harder now to know what the wind will do from day to day, it is less predictable