These individuals/teams and their ideas, all with great potential, have been shortlisted for the Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award.
The nominated initiative is led by a team from Dartmouth College and locals in Greenland. Toku Oshima is a problem solver and hunter-fisher from Qaanaaq, and Lene Kielsen Holm held several high-level positions in the Greenlandic Government. Professor Mary Albert, Assistant Professor Weiyang (Fiona) Li, PhD Candidate Alyssa Pantaleo, Adjunct Associate Professor Christopher Polashenski, and Research Scientist Hunter Snyder are based at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA.
Building on a previous partnership on renewable energy, their initiative proposes to develop and install a system of portable, solar-powered, locally and cooperatively owned fish-drying boxes to be used on the fjord ice while fishing through the ice near Qaanaaq, Greenland. Fish drying is a traditional way of preserving fish which has been practiced for centuries by coastal communities in the Arctic. Fully dried fish can be stored for months or years, making it a valuable source of income for local fishers, and it also improves energy and food security. Locally operated and owned, the portable fish-drying boxes will invest in and respect traditional knowledge and skill, local decision-making, economic empowerment, and self-determination. The project team’s plans also include documenting their decision-making processes, challenges, and progress, so that they may share their lessons learned and offer other Arctic communities the opportunity to adopt similar models for their benefit.
The nominated initiative is led by Doctor N. Stuart Harris who is based at Massachusetts General Hospital in the SPEAR Med (SPace, Ecological, Arctic, and Resource limited Medicine) Division of the Department of Emergency Medicine in Boston, MA in the United States. Working together with the Maniilaq Association in Northwest Alaska, the initiative focuses on creating a program of health monitoring that quantifies and qualifies the effects of climate change on human health and provides evidence to impact health-informed decision making.
Over a decade ago, community assessments in Arctic Alaska revealed several climate change-related health threats (e.g. travel, water, and food safety). Rapidly thawing permafrost will release pathogenic and toxic substances and undermine civic infrastructure and healthcare facilities, creating further harm. The project aims to monitor emergency medical care visits in the Maniilaq service area to assess climate change-related health impacts, and use the data and knowledge to inform policies, planning and adaption locally as well as globally. Finally, they plan to create a scalable model for assessing the health impacts of climate change which could be adopted by emergency departments and other health care settings nationally and internationally, thus creating impact beyond Alaska.
The nominate initiative is led by a team at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Alan Turing Institute (ATI) in the UK. Scott Hosking is a senior research fellow at ATI and Science Lead for AI at BAS; Tom Andersson and Ellen Bowler are machine learning researchers and James Byrne is a research software engineer at BAS; and Alden Conner is a senior researcher with ATI.
The project aims to increase the accuracy and range of sea ice forecasts using an AI system for the benefit of individuals and organizations in the Arctic. The frozen Arctic oceans are a vital platform for hunting and travel for coastal Indigenous peoples. They also play a critical role in maintaining Arctic food webs. Worsening sea ice conditions due to global warming already have significant impacts, and they are expected to increase as well as become tougher to predict. The IceNet AI uses satellite data and weather observations to forecast sea ice concentration on a daily timescale up to several months ahead, allowing Arctic communities and organizations to prepare and adapt to changing conditions. Its real-life applications can include warning systems for conservation and wildlife migration, improved maritime and shipping safety, and sea ice forecasts for Indigenous communities.