Tradition and Technology: Sea Ice Science on Inuit Sleds



[1] The Arctic is home to a circumpolar community of native people whose culture and traditions have enabled them to thrive in what most would perceive as a totally inhospitable and untenable environment. In many ways, sea ice can be viewed as the glue that binds these northern communities together; it is utilized in all aspects of their daily life. Sea ice acts as highways of the north; indeed, one can travel on these highways with dogsleds and snowmobiles. These travels over the frozen ocean occur at all periods of the sea ice cycle and over different ice types and ages. Excursions may be hunting trips to remote regions or social visits to nearby villages. Furthermore, hunting on the sea ice contributes to the health, culture, and commercial income of a community.


This project would not be possible without the support of Hans Jensen (owner of Hotel Qaanaaq), Inuit hunters Rasmus Avike and Lars Jeremiassen, and technical support from meteorologist Sven-Erik Ascanius in Qaanaaq. We thank all of the people who have contributed to the success of the project and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (projects NE/H012982/1 and Oceans2025); the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation; the Greenland Climate Research Centre; the Danish Meteorological Institute; and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute for funding. We also thank the Norwegian Space Centre for providing the Radarsat-2 Fine Quad-Pol for Figure 1c and the European Space Agency for access to the Envisat advanced synthetic aperture radar wide swath mode images under the MyOcean program.