top of page

Climate Change and Arctic Culture

The Arctic is more impacted by global warming than any other place in the world.

For the people and animals that live in the Arctic’s unique environment- climate change is not a debate; it’s a daily reality. And with the world growing warmer, Arctic ice is melting even faster, threatening their safety and way of life.

Already in the past 30 years, we’ve seen areas of Arctic sea ice melt that are larger than Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined.

Why is Climate Change information important in the Arctic:

Nowhere is climate change more obvious than in the Arctic. And the Arctic helps to regulate the world’s temperature, so as more Arctic ice melts the warmer our world becomes.

These are the facts:

  • Melting ice speeds up climate change. Global warming is causing Arctic ice to melt – ice reflects sunlight, while water absorbs it. When the Arctic ice melts, the oceans around it absorb more sunlight and heat up, making the world warmer as a result.
  • Sea levels are rising. Over the past century, the global average sea level has risen four to eight inches. Melting Arctic ice is expected to speed up sea level rise. Some experts even estimate that the oceans will rise as much as 23 feet by 2100, which would flood major coastal cities and submerge some small island countries, causing untold devastation.


Annual air temperature continues to increase in the Arctic, at a rate of warming that is more than twice that at lower latitudes. As the sea ice retreats in summer and previously ice-covered water is exposed to solar radiation, sea surface temperature in all the marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean is increasing.


Because of the increase in temperatures and subsequent loss of sea ice, wave action is causing greater coastal erosion. Arctic storms are increasing in ferocity and occurrence. They are driving salt water further inland onto sensitive tundra and fresh water lakes. Fresh water fish, fauna and flora are being adversely affected.

Subsistence hunting and fishing by Inuits in the areas affected by these changes have become more difficult and dangerous.


As a result of global warming the arctic sea ice is receding. Summer Arctic sea ice has declined by 20% over the last 25 years. Winter Arctic sea ice has declined by 13% over the last ten years.

Because of the reduction in sea ice, it is estimated that the Polar Bear population will halve by 2050, which is in 33 years’ time. Seal pups are being affected by the lack of snow on the ice that gives them insulation, which can increase their risk of freezing to death.

The Inuit’s traditional way of life is being affected by receding ice, its increasingly unpredictable nature and the thinness of the ice edge is making it difficult and dangerous for them to hunt for food.

A Goal of the In the Footsteps of Rasmussen Project, is to collect anecdotal stories, current information, as well as, first and second hand accounts of how climate change is impacting the people and wildlife in the arctic.

bottom of page