5 Jun 2013

Climate scientists urged to listen to communities

8:33 am on 5 June 2013

A climate scientist has urged researchers to engage with communities instead of relying purely on statistical models based on assumptions to highlight the effects of climate change.

Speaking at the New Zealand Climate Change Conference in Palmerston North on Tuesday, Barry Smit from the University of Guelph in Ontario gave a practical example.

In the Arctic Circle, he said, scientists had assumed the biggest problem for the Inuit people was the loss of territory from melting ice.

But after spending time with the Inuit they discovered a bigger danger was ice floes breaking up in different and drifting away, rather than staying attached to the main ice as would have happened earlier, leaving hunters stranded.