In the light of change: a mixed methods investigation of climate perceptions and the instrumental record in northern Sweden

Maria Furberg, David Hondula, Michael V. Saha, Maria Nilsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Significant climate change in the Arctic has been observed by indigenous peoples and reported in scientific literature, but there has been little research comparing these two knowledge bases. In this study, Sami reindeer herder interviews and observational weather data were combined to provide a comprehensive description of climate changes in Northern Sweden. The interviewees described warmer winters, shorter snow seasons and cold periods, and increased temperature variability. Weather data supported three of these four observed changes; the only change not evident in the weather data was increased temperature variability. Winter temperatures increased, the number of days in cold periods was significantly reduced, and some stations displayed a 2 month-shorter snow cover season. Interviewees reported that these changes to the wintertime climate are significant, impact their identity, and threaten their livelihood. If consistency between human observations of changing weather patterns and the instrumental meteorological record is observed elsewhere, mixed methods research like this study can produce a clearer, more societally relevant understanding of how the climate is changing and the impacts of those changes on human well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-71
Number of pages25
JournalPopulation and Environment
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Cold spells
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Mixed methods
  • Reindeer herding
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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