Climate changes: Effects in the north

Climate changes: Effects in the north

May 10, 2010

What effects do climate changes have on people and society in the north, and how can we adapt to the changes and take suitable measures?

On May 11, the Minister of the Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, was presented a report about climate changes and the effects of these in Northern Norway, Svalbard and the surrounding areas of sea.

Norut scientists Arild Buanes, Jan Åge Riseth and Eirik Mikkelsen have written two of the five sub-reports that form the basis of the synthesis report on climate changes in the Norwegian Arctic that was presented to the Minister of the Environment and International Development.

The scientists concluded amongst other factors that local knowledge must be given greater emphasis when we try to understand the effects of climate changes.

Erik Solheim was presented the report at a seminar at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø. The report results from the Arctic Council project “Arctic Climate Impact Assessment” (NorACIA), which has now concluded.

People and society

One of the sub-reports from Norut is entitled “Effects on people and society. Climate changes in the Norwegian Arctic”.

The report provides a broad overview of the anticipated climate changes that will have an impact on the conditions for natural resource-based industries, technical infrastructure, health, nature and the protection of cultural values.

One of the report’s conclusions is that the type of indicators that have been developed to capture the effects of climate changes must be supplemented by local and experience-based knowledge.

Emphasis must be given to local knowledge about climate changes and local assessments of how vulnerable places, municipalities and industries are to different types of change.

Effects that may be of little significance nationally may have a huge significance for individual communities or industries. Including local knowledge and experiences enables one to better reflect that the effects are different at different levels.

Adaptation and measures

The sub-report “Adaptation and mitigation measures” focuses on possible adaptation measures in light of the effects outlined in the first report.

Competence, capacity and long-term focus are important requirements to contribute to the reduction of a community’s vulnerability to climate changes.

Explanatory work about climate adaptations has been implemented in a host of sectors, and the report outlines the adaptation strategies and measures that are relevant in the various areas.

Summaries from the six reports disseminated by the project

The NorACIA project ran from 2005-2009. A broad range of research environments, public authorities and voluntary organisations have collaborated on the project, which was headed by the Norwegian Polar Institute.


Research Scientist Arild Buanes, Norut Tromsø