Global climate change is occuring at heightened levels in the Arctic, where northern communities are already experiencing the impacts of these changes. Arctic warming, glacial melting and sea level rise threatens infrastructure, human health and safety, traditional ways of life and ecosystem productivity.
These rapid changes present a challenge to those working on adaptation actions at the local, regional or global level. The inherent uncertainty of long-range climate forecasts makes it important to provide Arctic communities with a broad range of tools to help them respond to a changing ecological and social environment.
The Arctic Adaptation Exchange project will allow users to explore and share information resources related to climate change adaptation in the Arctic. The current library includes over 750 resources, and allows users to connect with other organization from across the circumpolar north to learn from their adaptation experiences and build on practical adaptation tools.
An interactive map on the "Explore" tab displays the site specific documents and resources available for that area. Filters can also be added by clicking on the sidebar on the left-hand side of the page to narrow down search results to a specific area of interest. For example, a northern community seeking solutions to address the effects of thawing permafrost can use filters, such as "Community" and "Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Management", to see how other villages solved similar challenges.
Users are also encouraged to submit their own resources to the database through a user-friendly upload option, which allows them to identify the geographical location of the project and the overarching theme of the resource. Submissions are then reviewed by a moderator, and once approved are automatically uploaded to the site.
For those looking for more information, the project includes an "Innovate" tab, where users are presented with other tools that connect the work of academic, public and private sectors with the needs of communities and on-the-ground adaptation practitioners. The links provided explore innovative ideas related to northern climate change issues, such as the Arctic Water Resource Vulnerability Index, the Adaptive Design and Assessment Policy Tool, and the Municipal Risk Assessment Tool.
Resilience (both social and ecological) is a crucial aspect of the sustainability of local livelihoods and resource management, thus there is a need for greater understanding of how societies should build adaptive capacity in the face of climate change. The Arctic Adaptation Exchange project is a commendable step forward to building capacity for northern communities to prepare for and adapt to the changing conditions in the circumpolar north.
To learn more about the Arctic Adaptation Exchange project or to test out the tool for yourself, click here!