SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


'Alaska scientists aim at offering climate services'
By Pete Ellsworth


March 12, 2007
Monday AM

This is a response t the article 'Alaska scientists aim at offering climate services'. These are my thoughts on this study and proposed action.

When I read the purpose of the program I was very impressed with scientists using NOAA data to better help the needs of the people in Alaska with information they want and need for climatic information changes. Then I saw what I think may be a problem, possibly it is just from my not understanding what these scientist would be doing is the 3 pilot projects. The project outlined didn't seem to mesh with the public needs or purpose of the proposed project.

When I read 'how climate change is interacting with other stresses on Yukon Flats villages' I wondered what does other stresses have to do with weather changes? Why was 'other stresses' put into the project name? The need as outlined was for climatic changes effecting these villages. The way this is written this could become a study into the social structure, hunting for subsistance or about anything else; rather than the purpose the original purpose to give the people the needed information on what the climatic condition changes will be that will effect their lives and what they might do to counter these changes.

Next the effects of midwinter pumping of tundra ponds to make ice roads on the North Slope. The need to study the effects of pumping seem to be far from the identified purpose of what the changing weather conditions and have on the people. It was not a study on what effects the pumping has on the tundra or the roads. Is it the purpose of this study plan to change or stop the pumping or to give people living there knowledge of how the changing weather will effect there travels and lives.

I totally agree with the purpose and need of the original project; I just think these projects may get side-tracked on doing what scientists choose rather than what the actual needs of the people are. I have been through enough of these type projects, here in Idaho, working with the US Forest Service to know this can and often does happen. What seemed to be a good project to start with ends up doing absolutely nothing for the need it was supposed to help. What they can do is provide several of scientist/biologists and others, money to work on a project and charge it off to someone else and accomplish nothing for the purpose it was intended.

What might work better is the scientists to work on the project and if they are able to come up with information that the people need then they get paid; otherwise they have done it pro bono. This might teach them to make sure what they are doing is what the people need and want.

Just a thought from an outsider that has worked on several proposed federal projects that were a total waste of money and time.

Pete Ellsworth
Culdesac, ID

Received March 10, 2007 - Published March 12, 2007

Related Article:

Alaska scientists aim at offering climate services By Ned Rozell - Seasons are not what they once were in Alaska. Ice roads on Alaska's North Slope have a shorter lifespan than they had 30 years ago. The extent of sea ice hugging the northern coastlines gets smaller every year. These changes affect Alaskans and people who work in Alaska, and a few scientists just received funding to make climate science user-friendly for those people. - More...
Sunday - March 04, 2007



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska