Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy Project (ISIUOP)
The Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy Project (ISIUOP) is a collaborative project investigating the importance, uses, and knowledge of sea ice from the perspective of northern communities and Inuit experts. ISIUOP is a Canadian Government-funded International Polar Year (IPY) project that is also contributing to the International IPY Sea Ice Knowledge and Use (SIKU) project. This project is lead by Dr. Claudio Aporta, and is based at Carleton University within the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC). Therefore, this project also contributes to a host of other interdisciplinary GCRC projects related to Northern and Indigenous Knowledge Research.
To easily link to this site, or to distribute the link, please use the following: http://gcrc.carleton.ca/isiuop
|View Siku Atlas|
The Inuit siku (sea ice) Atlas is now available for use at http://sikuatlas.ca. Community celebrations will be held on March 17 as part of the official launch events, for more information visit the What's New section.
Why sea ice?
Sea ice is a fundamental feature of the polar environment; it is also one of the most tangible indicators of change in the Arctic. During the last two decades, and in the past several years in particular, both polar scientists and local indigenous residents have detected important shifts in the extent, timing, dynamics and other key parameters of arctic sea ice. Whereas earlier International Polar Year (IPY) ventures contributed greatly to the progress in scientific knowledge and understanding of polar sea ice, IPY 2007-2008 will be a milestone in the documentation of indigenous knowledge of sea ice environments. It will also create opportunities to develop new standards and methods for bridging scientific and local observations/understandings of change in ice-dominated northern ecosystems.
We propose a coordinated regional study of local knowledge and use of sea ice in several Inuit communities across the Canadian Arctic to contribute to: i) the systematic documentation of Inuit expertise; and, ii) the exploration of practical means of bridging scientific and local observations of change. We have named the project ISIUOP (Inuit Sea Ice Use and Occupancy Project) as it has been inspired by the Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project (ILUOP) (Freeman, 1976), a study that became a milestone in the mapping and documentation of Inuit environmental knowledge. We believe ISIUOP will have a similar impact, as it constitutes the first systematic and comprehensive attempt to map and document Inuit knowledge and use of the sea ice environment.
Sea ice is an important and valuable focus for this endeavor because it plays a critical role in daily life in northern communities for six to eight months of the year (for travel, harvesting, economic, and leisure activities) and as such is an important part of community health and well-being. Meanwhile, sea ice is also an essential contributor to global climate stabilization, whereby natural scientists have great interest in the monitoring and modeling of sea ice conditions and change. Therefore, we will undertake a multidisciplinary approach to understand Inuit knowledge of the sea ice and local observations of change, coupled with analysis of change from local, social scientific, and natural scientific perspectives and methods. In so doing, we will be in a position to broaden our collective understanding of both ecosystem and community vulnerability to sea ice change. Without the important input and direct involvement of Inuit experts it would be difficult, if not impossible, to develop locally appropriate assessments of community vulnerability, resilience, or adaptive capacity to deal with observed changes in the dynamic sea ice environment.