Towards the Complete Archive - Interrelated ways of understanding past and present environmental variations in the face of climate change

Lead Author Ann Eileen, Lennert
Institution Contact Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and Climate Research Centre, Postboks 570, 3900 Nuuk
Co-Authors Inge Seiding, National Archives of Greenland Anders A. Bjørk, Centre for GeoGenetics The Natural History Museum of Denmark
Theme Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments
Session Name 1.1 Climate Change and Environmental Management in the Arctic
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 04:00 PM - 04:20 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text In the face of climate change, understanding past responses to climatic perturbations is of most importance. Several types of data sets can provide information on past changes, but these are always limited in temporal and spatial resolution. By incorporating less formal observation and knowledge sources we propose that a broader understanding of environmental changes came be achieved. Combining different but interrelated ways of understanding and communicating knowledge can support and strengthen current monitoring, prolong time series and aid in understanding ongoing environmental change in the Arctic. The variations and changes seen in the environments and marine ecosystems in the past, today and in the future are abrupt changes between contrasting, persistent states of any complex system. The potential for their prediction in the ocean and possible management depends upon the characteristics of the changes: their drivers (from anthropogenic to natural), scale (from the local to the basin) and potential for management action (from adaptation to mitigation). Limited data, systemic complexity and the range of differing structures in marine ecosystems present formidable challenges. What can we do? It might appear, at first glance, that the best response would be to improve our rather incomplete understanding of marine ecosystems dynamics and environmental variations in particular. We argue, however, that a shift in our approach to the problem is needed and that we must act even given our limited knowledge. The first step would be the development of a more active and flexible management approach, and a greater exploration of the knowledge reflected through: human nature interactions, traditional knowledge and archives going further back in time as the compressing environmental questions seen today transcend disciplinary boundaries and involve multiple and spatial scales.
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