Despite the assumption by many individuals that the detrimental effects of global warming are theoretical events that are far into the future, there are communities in the United States that are already faced with the reality of relocating due to sea level rise caused by global warming. While numerous communities around the world are already planning to relocate due to the loss, or imminent loss of land to the ocean, two such communities in the U.S. have already received funding to migrate to more stable land, in what may be a harbinger for larger coastal populations in the near future.

The erosion of the shoreline of Alaska’s Sarichef Island from rising sea levels has prompted the residents of the island’s village of Shishmaref to decide to relocate, before their traditional island home is overcome by the sea.

Home to 650 Inupiat Inuit, Sarichef Island lies in the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait, and like the rest of Alaska, is warming twice as fast as the contiguous states. Shishmaref is one of 31 Alaskan villages that are in danger from erosion and flooding, according to the US Government Accountability Office.

While most of the world is experiencing global warming, Alaska seems to be entering another ice age. Since 2000, temperatures in Alaska have dropped by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit. When scientists looked at weather reports from 20 climate stations in that state that are operated by the National Weather Service, 19 of the 20 of them reported FALLING temperatures.