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Sea engulfing Alaskan village; most extreme example of global warming on the planet.

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  • P. Neuman self only
    ... From: sonya koch To: Paleontology_and_Climate Cc: dreamkeeper
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2004
      --------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: "sonya koch" <msredsonya@...>
      To: "Paleontology_and_Climate" <Paleontology_and_Climate@yahoogroups.com>
      Cc: "dreamkeeper" <dreamkeeper@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 16:04:35 -0400
      Subject: [P&C] Sea engulfing Alaskan village; most extreme example of
      global warming on the planet.
      Message-ID: <410-2200482320435210@...>

      Sea engulfing Alaskan village; most extreme example of global warming on
      the planet.

      Sea engulfing Alaskan village
      BBC NEWS
      By David Willis
      BBC correspondent in Shishmaref, Alaska

      It is thought to be the most extreme example of global warming on the

      The village of Shishmaref lies on a tiny island on the edge of the arctic
      circle - and it is literally being swallowed by the sea.

      Houses the Eskimos have occupied for generations are now wilting and

      Some have fallen into the sea. Not only is the earth crumbling underfoot,
      but the waves are rising ominously all around.

      As we walked across the narrow strip of beach that was his playground as
      a kid, village elder Tony Weyiouanna pointed to a series of barricades
      that have been erected over the years in the hope of stemming the tide.

      "All of our efforts have been to protect our community," he told me. Has
      it worked? "Not yet."

      Tony estimates the tide moves an average of 10 feet (three metres) closer
      to the land every year. When he was growing up, it was roughly 300 feet
      (91 metres) from where it is now.

      Rising sea-levels

      Professor Gunter Weller, director of the University of Alaska's Center
      for Global Change and Arctic System Research, says several factors are at
      play in this part of the Arctic.

      Because temperatures in Alaska have increased by as much as 4.4C over the
      last 30 years, glaciers are starting to melt, causing the sea levels to

      The increased temperature is also thawing the frozen ground, which is
      known as permafrost, on which the arctic communities such as Shishmaref
      were built.

      It is this thawing that is causing the ground to crumble like sand.


      Professor Weller says there are many other villages in Alaska that are
      suffering similar problems, although not quite on the same scale.

      "Shishmaref is an indication of what to expect in the future in other
      parts of the world," he told me. "In that respect it is the canary in the
      coal mine."

      The villagers here have now taken a difficult decision. Staying here
      indefinitely could put their lives in danger.

      And so instead of fighting nature over land that has been theirs for
      generations, they have reluctantly concluded that preserving life is more
      important than preserving their lifestyle.

      Soon this entire village will be relocating to the mainland - making the
      people of Shishmaref the first refugees of global warming.
      Story from BBC NEWS:

      Published: 2004/07/30 14:28:34 GMT

      PLoS Medicine
      The open-access general medical journal from the Public Library of
      Inaugural issue: Autumn 2004 Share your discoveries with the world

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