University of Oulu

Larsen, J.N.; Schweitzer, P.; Abass, K.; Doloisio, N.; Gartler, S.; Ingeman-Nielsen, T.; Ingimundarson, J.H.; Jungsberg, L.; Meyer, A.; Rautio, A.; Scheer, J.; Timlin, U.; Vanderlinden, J.-P.; Vullierme, M. Thawing Permafrost in Arctic Coastal Communities: A Framework for Studying Risks from Climate Change. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2651.

Thawing permafrost in Arctic coastal communities : a framework for studying risks from climate change

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Author: Larsen, Joan Nymand1,2; Schweitzer, Peter3; Abass, Khaled4,5;
Organizations: 1Stefansson Arctic Institute, IS-600 Akureyri, Iceland
2Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Akureyri, IS-600 Akureyri, Iceland
3Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna, 1010 Wien, Austria
4Arctic Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 7300, 90014 Oulu, Finland
5Department of Pesticides, Menoufia University, Menoufia P.O. Box 32511, Egypt
6CEARC Research Center, Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines/Université Paris Saclay, 78280 Guyancourt, France
7Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
8Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, 1165 Copenhagen, Denmark
9Nordregio, SE-11186 Stockholm, Sweden
10Thule Institute, University of the Arctic, P.O. Box 7300, 90014 Oulu, Finland
11Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM), 75007 Paris, France
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-20


Thawing permafrost creates risks to the environment, economy and culture in Arctic coastal communities. Identification of these risks and the inclusion of the societal context and the relevant stakeholder involvement is crucial in risk management and for future sustainability, yet the dual dimensions of risk and risk perception is often ignored in conceptual risk frameworks. In this paper we present a risk framework for Arctic coastal communities. Our framework builds on the notion of the dual dimensions of risk, as both physically and socially constructed, and it places risk perception and the coproduction of risk management with local stakeholders as central components into the model. Central to our framework is the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration. A conceptual model and processual framework with a description of successive steps is developed to facilitate the identification of risks of thawing permafrost in a collaboration between local communities and scientists. Our conceptual framework motivates coproduction of risk management with locals in the identification of these risks from permafrost thaw and the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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Series: Sustainability
ISSN: 2071-1050
ISSN-E: 2071-1050
ISSN-L: 2071-1050
Volume: 13
Issue: 5
Article number: 2651
DOI: 10.3390/su13052651
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This research was supported by the Nunataryuk project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 773421.
EU Grant Number: (773421) Nunataryuk - Permafrost thaw and the changing arctic coast: science for socio-economic adaptation
Copyright information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (