On this episode we’re joined by Dr. Lynn Moormon, Professor of Physical Geography at Mount Royal University, as well as Andrew Arreak, SmartICE Nunavut Operations Lead. The Inuit people across Northern Canada rely on sea ice for hunting and access, and it also plays a large role in their culture.
Knowing how to read the land and the ice has been passed down through Andrew’s family from one generation to the next. The people in his community have learned about it largely through first-hand experience. You really have to be there to understand how therapeutic it can be.
SmartICE is a co-development approach that aims to merge the traditional knowledge of sea ice with advanced data acquisition and remote monitoring technology. The goal is to create maps to help navigate ice conditions in real time using terminology that the community uses. This is becoming even more important as the climate warms.
They have been utilizing Facebook to transfer the knowledge throughout Northern communities and beyond. Digitizing the sea ice knowledge is another way of helping to pass the knowledge from one generation to the next. It also helps increase confidence around ice conditions.
In Andrew’s community, snow begins to fall in October, and the ice begins to form around mid-November. This is when they will begin creating sea ice maps again. Andrew loves it when he meets people out on the ice while he’s gathering data and enjoys taking the opportunity to educate them about the technology he’s using.