Map of Alaska (USA). The village of Shishmaref is located in the northwest.
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Global Warming Endangers an Alaskan Eskimo Village
News story originally written on August 28, 2002
The arctic may be a cold place, but global climate changes are making it warmer every year. People in the village of Shishmaref, Alaska have noticed that winters are warmer now than they used to be. Also, they see less ice in the sea around the little island that they live on.
In fact, arctic places like Alaska warm much faster than other places on Earth. The average winter temperature in Alaska is now 4 degrees Celsius higher than it was 40 years ago.
As climate change causes the arctic to warm up, the layer of frozen ground that covers the surface melts, becoming soft and easily worn away. This means that the small island that the town of Shishmaref sits on was once solid but now it is like a pile of shifting sand and dirt.
Without frozen ground and ice around the island, the sand and dirt wears away when big storms happen. So much of the island is wearing away that the Eskimo people of the village might move their entire town somewhere else.
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