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  • The North Atlantic Region and Socio-Economic impacts of Global Change: Tracking Change using Arctic Social Indicators
  • The interest of social scientists on the arctic has increased steadily in recent years, because of the climate change and its impacts on resources. Scientists have predicted some environmental and social change in the arctic. The focus of this paper will be on the north Atlantic region and possible impacts of global changes. The possible impacts of climate change on Greenland and Iceland is shift in commercial species, especially on cod and shrimp.
    The main interest of social scientists on the Arctic is to track and monitoring human development in the Arctic thru these global changes. In this paper, Arctic Social Indicator project is being reviewed but one of the main purposes of the ASI project is to construct indicators to monitor and track human development in the Arctic. The ASI project has six domains, but in this paper only one domain, material well being is reviewed and the income indicator, subsistence indicator and net-migration indicator was analyzed with a brief preliminary look at measuring these indicators for the case of Greenland and Iceland.
    When these three indicators were tested for the case of Greenland and Iceland, some data challenges came up. To be able to make valid comparison between Iceland and Greenland in the income indicator, household income needs to be adjusted for purchasing power parity. Another challenge of using the income indicator is the difference in the categorizing of income by statistical offices. Some statistical bureaus only have individual income, or only average income. The data on the subsistence was out of date, it only measured four regions and it only takes indigenous people into account. There were some known data challenges on net-migration. The cost of moving can by different between countries and even within the same country. The indicators which was tested in this paper did not tell us much about the impacts of global changes on the North Atlantic region, because longer time period is needed to see the change thru the time.
    To improve future research in this area, a couple of things need to be done. First of all, statistical bureaus need to coordinate how they categorize various data, including designing common data protocols. Of critical importance is the need for data collection on subsistence harvest. To enable us to track and monitor changes in material well-being in the Arctic, more accurate data on subsistence harvest and the size of transfers to households need to be collected and be made more readily available. If these improvements can be done, it would help us to provide a more accurate picture of the extent of material well-being in the Arctic thru these changes.

  • 6.7.2009

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