A traditional Eskimo whale-hunting party races to shore near Barrow, Alaska, while their trapped comrades drift out to sea on ice that should still be solid. Elsewhere, a team of scientists transverses the tundra, measuring the thinning snow every ten kilometers in a quest to understand the effects of albedo the heat-deflecting property of snow that helps regulate the planet’s temperature. Journalist and lifelong Alaskan Charles Wohlforth here crystallizes how climate change isn’t an abstraction in the far North; it’s a reality that has already dramatically altered daily life. He describes how Alaskan Natives and scientists attempt to reconcile their radically different ways of observing changes in the environment, and the implications for us all. (Daedalus Books Description)
A rambling but still incisive account of cultural as well as climate change at Point Barrow, the encounter of whites with the Inupiak people there, the results of the Ray IPY expedition in 1881, etc. One main point is that the natives knew far more than the Europeans ever could, though a good deal of assimilation took place.