Experts of the international network SecNet, created under the auspices of TSU to study environmental transformation, note that the most dramatic changes in climate and ecosystems over the past half century have occurred in the Eurasian Arctic and Siberia. In this regard, it is necessary to quickly develop mechanisms for adapting to warming, otherwise humanity will face serious socio-economic shocks, including hunger.
The authors of the article were 16 scientists from leading research centers in Russia, Norway, Great Britain, Finland and other countries included in the SecNet network. In a joint work, they presented the results collected during research at several dozen stations located in Siberia and the Arctic, including at the most remote bases, such as the Willem Barents station.
“In Siberia and the Subarctic, anthropogenic factors of environmental change, such as migration, industrialization and urbanization, are added to climatic changes in the natural environment - warming of the atmosphere, melting of permafrost, reduction of glaciers,” notes one of the authors of the article, scientific director of the SecNet network. Professor at the University of Sheffield and TSU Terry Callaghan. “All this entails an increase in the frequency of extreme events that were previously uncharacteristic for Siberia and the Arctic: tundra fires, which were previously very rare, have become more frequent, tornadoes have begun to be recorded in Siberia, and there are more extremely dry and wet periods.”
As the authors of the article note, the circumpolar (located beyond the Arctic Circle) north has become the hottest point. Thus, the record of the average annual temperature from the station "Dixon Island" shows that over the past 50 years (1968-2017) there has been an increase in the average annual temperature by almost 4 ° C. Climate transformation entails a change in the environment, which greatly affects the life of the indigenous population and makes adjustments to their usual way of life.
Representatives of the small indigenous peoples of the North / © photo courtesy of the government of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug / Press service of TSU
For example, reindeer herders note the late establishment of snow cover, which leads to a deterioration of the food supply (freezing of reindeer lichen). Large fluctuations in temperature often occur from low (-40 ° C) to higher (-10-15 ° C), which is accompanied by severe snowstorms. According to reindeer herders, in such weather, reindeer are often lost and have to be searched for a long time. Despite the fact that the indigenous peoples are accustomed to aggressive natural and geographical conditions, they are forced to adapt to the new environment associated with warming, and so far it is rather difficult.
“Local and indigenous peoples, especially those that depend on natural resources, have personal experience and inherited knowledge about the environment and ecosystems,” says Olga Shaduyko, one of the authors of the article, director of the TSU Center for International Cooperation, coordinator of the SecNet network. - This knowledge and observation is very important for the development of new research projects and can be useful for the interpretation of their results.
SecNet Academic Supervisor, Professor at the University of Sheffield and TSU Terry Callaghan / © TSU Press Service
Therefore, several years ago we invited the indigenous peoples of Siberia and the Arctic to dialogue. The Nenets, Khanty, and Zyryans regularly participate in SecNet seminars. The local population is interested in receiving information about what is happening in the territory of their residence. People need a forecast regarding the further transformation of the climate and nature, since their health and well-being directly depend on this."
Indigenous peoples themselves offer cooperation to scientists. For example, in 2019, the Norwegian Sámi entered the SecNet network, who are experiencing the same problems as the inhabitants of the Arctic zone of Russia. They are ready to provide all possible assistance, for example, collect data on the study area, since scientists are there occasionally, and local residents are constantly.
The authors of the article were leading experts in the study of climate, ecology, biodiversity, swamps and other areas. Among them are TSU and Shaffield University professor Terry Callaghan (in 2007 he received the Nobel Prize as part of the UN International Panel of Experts on Climate Change); Lund University scientist Margaret Johansson - head of the network European project for the study of natural and climatic changes in the Arctic - INTERACT; Director of the Center of Excellence at TSU BioKlimLand Sergey Kirpotin is the only Russian expert participating in the selection of applications for research within the INTERACT project, and other scientists.
In an article in the journal Ambio, special emphasis is placed on the need for joint research, the results of which are important for the development of a mechanism for human adaptation to global warming and survival in new conditions. Otherwise, people will soon face socio-economic upheavals - and hunger may become one of the first.
As the researchers note, in the absence of an adaptation strategy, negative consequences will also affect residents of prosperous territories that have not been affected by fires, floods and other manifestations of the natural disaster, since large flows of migrants will go to these places.
According to the authors of the article, the study of the Arctic, where the greatest changes are noted, and Siberia, since this macroregion has a great influence on the formation of the climate of the entire planet, plays a major role in the development of leveling mechanisms.