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

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.

Contact AAOKH

We'd like to hear your ideas for supporting information exchange and environmental observations by Iñupiaq experts in coastal communities.

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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.

Quaiyaan 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.