This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Esa Qillaq (right) and Jayko Ashevak towing our heavy equipment up to the site of our first weather station, Akuliaqattak, north of Clyde River. I


t’s early May in Kangiqtugaapik, or Clyde River, Nunavut. Looking out the window of Shari Gearheard’s house, I see blue sky overhead. At ground level, however, the distant houses are hard to see in the blowing snow. A pennant flying from the neighbour’s roof is standing straight out for the third day in a row. Somehow this is fitting, as we are here to study the weather. Inuit have noted many changes in weather over the past few decades. Among


other things, they report that the weather is harder to predict than it used to be. This complaint echoes observations I’ve heard from Alaska (where I live), Canada’s western Arctic, Nunavut, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Russia. Something is undoubtedly going on. What that means specifically is harder to pin down. Shari and I work with two


meteorologists to compare Inuit observations of winds with data from the weather station at the Clyde River airport. The two records do not really agree, with Inuit reporting various changes that are largely undetectable from the wind instruments. We decide to probe deeper, enlisting the help of Glen Liston and Kelly Elder, scientists from Fort Collins, Colorado, who have looked at weather and snow throughout the world. Together, we secure a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to try to connect Inuit observations with weather instruments and models. At the centre of the project are the Inuit with whom we are working. Esa Qillaq, Joelie


Sanguya, Jayko Ashevak, Ilkoo Angutikjuak, and Laimikie Palluq are among those whose observations started the study. They christened our project team Silalirijiit, “those who study or care about weather.” Our basic idea is that the weather varies greatly over the landscape surrounding Clyde


River. The mountains, fjords, and sea all help shape patterns of temperature, wind, and snowfall. While Inuit travel and hunt all across the area, the weather station at the airport captures only one location. So we need to get more data, which means building and maintaining remote weather stations. And we need to better understand how Inuit see the weather. For example, is it wind that really matters, or the blowing snow that makes it hard to see?


July/August 2011 above & beyond 37


Kelly Elder (left) and Esa Qillaq (right) are delighted to see that the maintenance work at the Ailaktalik station (south of Clyde River) is successful, with the data showing up correctly on the laptop screen.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60