Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub
Providing northern Alaska coastal communities with the tools, resources, and scientific and administrative support to share their expertise through community-based observations and the joint development of a knowledge resource on cryosphere change.
Collaborators and participating communities
This project is a collaboration between Arctic Alaska coastal communities and researchers at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Participating communities include Kaktovik, Wainwright, Point Lay, Point Hope, Kotzebue, Utqiaġvik, and Wales.
Coastal observers needed for Kaktovik, Kotzebue, Point Lay, and Wales. Learn more
Compare changes across communities
Here, an example of daily sea ice concentration allows community members to see how ice conditions compare at other locations across the northern coast.
Actively participate in research
Your observations and pictures help everyone! Communities are at the front lines of changing conditions, seeing changes in action before measurements can be made by scientists and often in places otherwise inaccessible to scientific instruments. Your community can help. Information you share increases in value over time because they help identify patterns and trends.
See shoreline and offshore ice types
The marginal ice zone is the transition between the open ocean and more stable landfast ice that is anchored to the coastline or the seafloor. This zone is very dynamic due to the influence of the weather and rapid changes. 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.
Inform your activities with near real-time data
Centered on Utqiagvik with an 11 km range (6 nautical miles) and updating images every 5 minutes, marine radar is valuable for locating the ice edge near Utqiaġvik for subsistence activities, search and rescue, and maritime navigation.
Black areas are open water and ice appears white.
We'd like to hear your ideas for supporting information exchange and environmental observations by Iñupiaq experts in coastal communities.
In 1998 people would leave for fishing cabins in late August or early September, now it is as late as the end of November.
Now we’re lucky to start ice fishing in October. By the time the river is safe the fish have already spawned.
Freeze up is coming later and melting earlier, in between the ice is more difficult to read.
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.
In asking what the story is I think number one is food and water security. It is the most important story.
There are different migration patterns ... we are getting used to the frequent changes.