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Aerial view of Shishmaref

This image is of the village of Shishmaref in N. Alaska, which has been inhabited for 400 years and is a small, low-lying island 400m wide and 4km long situated off the North-East coast of Alaska. Shishmaref is facing evacuation due to rising temperatures which are melting and destroying the protective barrier of sea ice that keeps sea surges away from the island. At the same time, the melting of Permafrost further destabilizes the shoreline, making it more vulnerable to erosion. As higher storm surges reach shore, Shishmaref is shrinking by around 3m every year and the town's homes, water system and infrastructure are being undermined and destroyed to the point where homes are being abandoned as they literally fall into the ocean. Residents can do nothing to stop the water as it approaches their homes and a man-made protective sea wall has done little to help. The villagers of Shishmaref are facing relocation, which is estimated to be a job that will cost over 1 million dollars.

Year: 2010

From album: Climate Change and Shishmaref, Alaska

Photographer: Lawrence Hislop

Tags: landscape sea

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