Indigenous knowledge and observations of current trends

Sea ice is declining, and its quality and timing are changing, with important repercussions for marine hunters.

Sea ice is declining markedly, both in extent and thickness. The pack ice is further from shore and often too thin to allow safe travel. Less sea ice makes stormy seas more violent and dangerous for hunters. Marine mammals whose habitat is sea ice, including walrus, polar bear, and iceassociated seals are very likely to experience major population declines in this century and could be threatened with extinction.

  • "Long ago, there was always ice all summer. You would see the [multiyear ice] all summer. Ice was moving back and forth this time of year. Now, no ice. Should be [multiyear]. You used to see that old ice coming from the west side of Sachs. No more. Now between Victoria Island and Banks Island, there is open water. Shouldn't be that way." Frank Kudlak, Sachs Harbour, Canada, 1999
  • "I know that today that seals, it might be because of early spring break-up or that they are out on the ice floes, that the seals are nowhere." Man age 62, Kuujjuaq, Canada,
  • "When there is lots of ice, you don't worry too much about storms. You get out there and travel in between the ice [floes]. But last few years there has been no ice. So if it storms, you can't get out…" Andy Carpenter, Sachs Harbour, Canada, 1999

Source & © ACIA Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment  (2004),
 Key Finding #8, p.96

Related publication:
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Map subregions sub-II

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1000 years of changes in carbon emissions

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The Porcupine Caribou Herd

The Gwich’in and the Porcupine Caribou Herd

A permafrost primer

Seals Become Elusive for Inuit in Nunavut

Observed Climate Change Impacts in Sachs Harbour, Canada

Indigenous knowledge and observations of current trends

Case study of interacting changes: Saami reindeer herders

Indigenous knowledge and observations of current trends

Indigenous knowledge and observations of current trends

Indigenous knowledge and observations of current trends