Sea rise forces village to shift
SHISHMAREF, A tiny Alaskan village on the Chukchi Sea, has possibly become the first American settlement that will relocate due to climate change. Its 650 residents voted 89-78 in favour of a long-discussed proposal to move the entire village to yet-to-bedecided new location. The 1.6 km-wide island, on which the village is located, has lost 914 metres of coastline in the past 35 years. Rising temperatures have shrunk the sea ice, which buffered Shishmaref from storm surges. At the same time, the permafrost that the village is built on has started melting, with the shore receding at an average rate of up to 3 metres a year. Thinner ice has led to a surge in fatalities among the seal hunter residents, who plunge to their deaths through the cracks. The cost of relocating Shishmaref will be an estimated US $180 million.