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Erosion, permafrost thaw, and sea level rise threaten Inuit heritage sites – The Weather Network

by pmnationtalk on May 18, 202371 Views

May. 18, 2023

In Canada’s north, Indigenous historic places, items, and traditions face erosion, rot, landslides, and damage from encroaching plants. And climate change could claim more of them before they’re ever rediscovered.

Each time he takes the helicopter trip, Michael O’Rourke, a climate change archaeologist with the Government of the Northwest Territories, sees how the land changes. Over the years, he has flown out multiple times to survey archaeological sites in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, part of Canada’s western Arctic.

As the region warms at an accelerated pace — nearly four times faster than the global average by some counts — climate change is poised to impact traditions and livelihoods in the Arctic. Changes in sea ice and snow in a warming climate can wreak havoc on traditional hunting and fishing grounds, on top of damaging currently inhabited communities.

But climate change poses a threat to historically and culturally important structures and places in the Canadian Arctic, too. These impacts, which include erosion, permafrost thaw, and sea level rise, vary by region, but they damage or even destroy parts of the north’s history.

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