UNI researchers to study how Indigenous communities adapt to Arctic climate change

UNI researchers to study how Indigenous communities adapt to Arctic climate change

The University of Northern Iowa’s Arctic Remote and Cold Territories Interdisciplinary Center (ARCTICenter) was recently awarded a $720,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how people could collectively manage climate change in the Arctic.

The project will examine the sustainability of ice, snow and permafrost landscapes under changing environmental conditions to assess Arctic community resilience, as climate change has impacted the frozen landscapes that Indigenous communities have used to support their lifestyle for thousands of years.

“Climate change is driving an unprecedented and costly infrastructure crisis in the Arctic, precipitated by permafrost degradation and unusual snow and ice events,” said Geography Professor Andrey Petrov, principal investigator of the study and director of the ARCTICenter. “Melting ice and thawing permafrost also generate global climate feedbacks and sea-level rise that are felt far beyond the Arctic itself. We need to learn from and work with the Indigenous communities to adapt to change and sustain the cryosphere in order to support the livelihoods of Arctic residents and all of humanity.”

The interdisciplinary project will be conducted by UNI researchers in collaboration with the George Washington, Alaska Pacific and Arizona State Universities, and Universities of Alaska Fairbanks and New Hampshire. The project has a strong international component and will be conducted in partnership with Indigenous and local communities in Arctic Alaska and Russia’s northern Siberia (Republic of Sakha).

The project will advance transdisciplinary research by converging science, arts and local Indigenous knowledge systems. Community-centered research will take place in Alaska and Siberia, involving natural and social scientists, local residents and Indigenous peoples and governments in research design, data collection, analysis and the dissemination of results.


Andrey Petrov,  ARCTICenter director and geography professor, 319-273-6245, andrey.petrov@uni.edu

Steve Schmadeke, UNI public relations manager, 319-273-6120, steve.schmadeke@uni.edu