Alaska Arctic Observatory & Knowledge Hub: Community-based observations of changes in the seasonal cycle in Alaska's Arctic














We provide tools and science support to help northern Alaska coastal community residents turn their local observations and expertise into a public, online resource that tracks changes in snow, ice, and wildlife.


Your observations and photos show everyone what's changing

Alaska's northern coastal communities are at the front lines of changing conditions—you see changes in action before scientists can measure them. And, you often see these changes in places otherwise inaccessible to scientific instruments.

You can help. Your shared information becomes more valuable over time because it reveals patterns and trends. Get involved

Left: A coastal observer. (Matt Druckenmiller)

See locations of different sea ice types


The marginal ice zone is an area of dynamic transition between open ocean and more stable landfast ice anchored to the coast or seafloor.

Knowing the locations of different ice types can help people figure out how safe it is to travel, indicate habitats for marine life, and show areas of potential coastal erosion.

Compare changes across communities


This example of daily sea ice concentration shows community members how ice conditions compare at other locations across the northern coast.

Inform your activities with near real-time data


Centered on Utqiaġvik with an 11 km (6 nm) range and updating images every 5 minutes, marine radar is valuable for locating the ice edge for subsistence activities, search and rescue, and maritime navigation.

Black areas indicate open water. Ice appears white.

We need your help

Your observations matter, and we'll pay you to gather them. Track your local environmental changes and help us see how they affect the timing and accessibility of subsistence activities.

Observers needed for Kaktovik, Kotzebue, Point Lay, and Wales. 

We need observing networks

This video features St. Lawrence Island community leaders and scientists who highlight the urgent need for sustained, long-term observations that include Indigenous knowledge, community-based observations, and citizen science.

Source: Study of Environmental Arctic Change

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Participating Communities

Kaktovik, Kotzebue, Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Utqiaġvik, Wales

Thanks to Billy Adams, Matt Druckenmiller, Donna Hauser, Frank Johnson, Jack Lane, Steven Patkotak, and Robert Tokeinna, Jr. for photos.

Northern Alaska residents bear witness

Willard Neakok


In 1998 people would leave for fishing cabins in late August or early September, now it is as late as the end of November.

Qaiyaan Harcharek


Now we’re lucky to start ice fishing in October. By the time the river is safe the fish have already spawned.

Harry Brower


Freeze up is coming later and melting earlier, in between the ice is more difficult to read.

Noah Naylor


Ice is important for Ugruk [bearded seal] hunting. The ice was a lot thinner this past year, so it is necessary to hunt earlier and earlier.

Moses Tcheripanoff


In asking what the story is I think number one is food and water security. It is the most important story.

Austin Ahmasuk


There are different migration patterns ... we are getting used to the frequent changes.

Do you have ideas for sharing environmental observations by Iñupiaq experts in northern Alaska coastal communities?

Please contact us.

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