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Exchanging local narratives and scientific understanding of climate changes in indigenous communities of Greenland and the southwest Pacific

Alternative title: Klimanarrativer - økt forståelse for klimaendringer igjennom dialog og utveksling av kunnskap mellom forskere og urbefolkning

Awarded: NOK 24.5 mill.

ClimateNarratives is an interdisciplinary research project in the climate sciences focusing on identifying risks, vulnerability, innovation and adaption possibilities for indigenous communities living along the coast og Greenland and on low-lying islands of the Pacific. Both of these communities live close to nature and to the ocean, and are facing new challenges and opportunities due to climate change: As the glaciers and the sea ice along the coast of Greenland retreats, new land is appearing and the fjords are opening; meanwhile, on low-lying island states of the Pacific, land is disappearing as the ice melts, and the communities are at an ever increasing risk of storm surges and floods. What is novel with the ClimateNarratives project is the combination of climate science, social science and art together with local indigenous knowledge and narratives across cultures and generations in the search to identify challenges and possibilities in the face of current and as well as future climate changes.

ClimateNarratives is a interdisciplinary effort to identify risks, vulnerabilities, innovation and adaptation possibilities for indigenous communities in a changing climate Communities living close to nature and to the ocean are facing new challenges and opportunities due to climate change. In coastal Greenland, the fjord systems are projected to undergo large changes, as the glaciers and the ice sheet retreat. Similarly, low lying island states in the Pacific are expected to see changes in the frequency of storm surges and flooding, severely impacting people’s livelihoods. However, there is substantial uncertainty on the state of the present-day, as well as in future projections. This uncertainty poses challenges for everyday practices and the traditional management of natural resources among indigenous communities. ClimateNarratives focuses on the local and far-field impacts from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and investigates the complex processes taking place at the marine terminating margin of the ice sheet in a fjord on the west coast of Greenland. As melt will affect both sea level in the Pacific, as well as hydrographic and biological conditions in the fjords of Greenland, the far-reaching consequences for indigenous coastal communities warrants a need for better understanding and predictions to ensure appropriate and timely adaptation. With an ambitious plan to seek new knowledge together with indigenous communities we will be able to target climate projections of significance locally. Combining a highly interdisciplinary team of scientists with extensive experience in working in Greenland and the Pacific with an ambitious research plan including field campaigns, community workshops, art exhibits and exchanges, ClimateNarratives endeavours to bridge the gap between science disciplines, cultural identity and geographic affinity with a common interest in a better understanding of the impact of climate and sea level changes.

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