BBC – Located at the edge of the arctic circle, the small Alaskanvillage of Shishmaref is being literally swallowed by thesea as annually rising waters encroach upon it. AtShishmaref the tide moves an average of 10 feet (3m) closereach year, damaging homes the Eskimos have occupied forgenerations and making the area uninhabitable. Some homeshave already fallen into the sea. So far, all efforts tostem the rising tide have not worked.
According to the University of Alaska’s Center for GlobalChange and Arctic Systems Research, the rising sea level inthis part of the world is attributable to several factors. Temperatures in much of Alaska have increased over the last30 years, causing significant glacial melt. Thistemperature increase has also affected the frozen ground –called permafrost — upon which communities like Shishmarefwere built, causing the ground to crumble like sand.
The people of Shishmaref have decided to give up land theyhave lived on for generations, becoming the first refugeesof global warming. Choosing to preserve their lives overtheir lifestyle, the village has decided to relocate to themainland.
Scientists from the University of Alaska are calling theeffects of global warming in Shishmaref an indication ofwhat can be expected in other parts of the world.
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