Traditional Iñupiat Ice Cellars (SIĠḷUAQ) in Barrow, Alaska: Characteristics, Temperature Monitoring, and Distribution

Kelsey E. Nyland, Anna E. Klene, Jerry Brown, Nikolay I. Shiklomanov, Frederick E. Nelson, Dmitry A. Streletskiy, Kenji Yoshikawa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Ice cellars are a natural form of refrigeration constructed within permafrost. They are traditionally employed by indigenous Arctic peoples to store harvested wildlife. Recent reports from Alaska indicate that ice cellars are “failing” through mechanisms that include flooding and collapse, which are often attributed to climate change. In cooperation with local stakeholders, we instrumented five cellars to record internal air temperature in Barrow, Alaska. A decade of thermal monitoring (2005–2015) revealed little thermal change. A survey was also conducted to identify all known ice cellar locations in Barrow. A total of seventy-one cellars were catalogued and mapped. The large number of catalogued cellars shows the importance and great potential loss for the Barrow community if widespread failures were to occur. Although climate change has considerable potential for affecting ice cellars, sediment chemistry, local hydrology, and urbanization are also important impacting factors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-158
    Number of pages16
    JournalGeographical Review
    Volume107
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

    Keywords

    • Barrow
    • ice cellar
    • Iñupiat
    • permafrost
    • thermal regime

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