From Nunavik to Iceland: Climate, Humans and Culture through Time across the Coastal (Sub) Arctic North Atlantic, Belmont Forum, 2020-23, 632 000 €, PI Anne de Vernal (UQAM, Montreal, Canada).

The overarching goal of NICH-Arctic is to explore and assess the resilience and vulnerability of the environment in a subpolar latitudinal zone marked by large amplitude climate and sea-ice variations. This project combines geological, historical, instrumental records and narrative information from the cultural practices and the representations of Nordic environments through the literature. NICH-Arctic proposes investigations of coastal regions where climate conditions and sea ice play a vital role in accessibility through navigation and livelihood of the cultural communities. 

From West to East, the study regions include the Nunavik in northern Québec, Labrador, southwest Greenland and northern Iceland. The succession of different cultures, including Paleo-Eskimo (Saqqaq, Pre-Dorset and Dorset) and Neo-Eskimo (Inuit), in Nunavik, Labrador and Greenland, and the Norse settlers, in Iceland and Greenland, illustrates a wide range of adaptative strategies to harsh weather conditions, climatic variations, ocean and sea-ice instabilities and ecological stresses since early migrations via Alaska about 4500 years ago and the Nordic Seas in the 9th to 10th centuries.

The recent evolution of these regions is not well documented from instrumental data, due to the low density of recording stations and the shortness of records, when available. Disciplinary knowledge has been developed, but with little transdisciplinary exchanges and limited communication between scientists and stakeholders. Here, NICH-Arctic takes advantage of the large array of disciplinary expertise of the team members, added to their knowledge of the research areas, to develop a truly integrated multidisciplinary understanding of climate, habitat, archeology and culture relations, from past to on-going changes in the Arctic and subarctic Atlantic realm.

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