University of Oulu

Timlin, U., Meyer, A., Nordström, T., & Rautio, A. (2022). Permafrost thaw challenges and life in Svalbard. Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, 4, 100122.

Permafrost thaw challenges and life in Svalbard

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Author: Timlin, Ulla1; Meyer, Alexandra2; Nordström, Tanja1;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland
2Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna, Austria
3University of the Arctic, Thule Institute and Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-08-04


Svalbard is facing changes related to climate change and permafrost thaw, which have impacts on the life and well-being of people. This study evaluated impacts of climate change and permafrost thaw on the life of locals living in Longyearbyen, Svalbard and focused on investigating self-rated health, well-being, quality of life, satisfaction with life, and feeling of empowerment when facing the changes and impacts. The aim was to find out which perceived environmental and adaptation factors relate to these dependent variables. The data was collected using a multidisciplinary questionnaire (n = 84); for statistical analysis cross-tabulation was used and the associations were tested either by the Pearson χ2 test or Fisher’s exact test, when appropriate. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to investigate associations between the dependent variables and perceived environmental and adaptation factors. Results suggested that well-being, quality of life, satisfaction with life, and life balance (a sum variable of earlier parameters) were associated with the recognized challenges related to infrastructure or physical environment. Quality of life and life balance were supported by the opinion that not enough has been done to adapt to permafrost thaw by national and global authorities. Despite recognized challenges, participants appear to live satisfied lives. People seemed to have knowledge about the impacts of permafrost thaw, they wanted to adapt to the changes, but more actions are needed from national and global authorities. Research with a larger sample size is needed due to the complexity of the relationships between people, holistic well-being, and climate change.

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Series: Current research in environmental sustainability
ISSN: 2666-0490
ISSN-E: 2666-0490
ISSN-L: 2666-0490
Volume: 4
Article number: 100122
DOI: 10.1016/j.crsust.2021.100122
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This publication is part of the Nunataryuk project. The project has received funding under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under grant agreement no. 773421.
EU Grant Number: (773421) Nunataryuk - Permafrost thaw and the changing arctic coast: science for socio-economic adaptation
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (