Map of Alaska (USA). The village of Shishmaref is located in the northwest.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original image
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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
Scientists at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research have shown that there is a 90% chance that global temperatures will rise 3-9 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years. This is a big jump...more
The climate had become warmer during the past few decades in the north polar region . Temperatures are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. Warmer temperatures cause other things to...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more
Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more
The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more