Monday, May 13, 2013

America's First Climate Refugees

Deny this:


Les Johnson said...

First climate refugees? never read Steinbeck, then?

Les Johnson said...

Of course, the problems lies in the fact that Alaska has been cooling this century, by over 2 degrees/decade.

Jack said...

I tried to "deny" this over at the Guardian by posting a snippet of a Wikipedia entry which referred to previous Inuit displacement caused by the Little Ice Age...but the moderators or Suzanne considered this to be too inflammatory and deleted it.

We can "deny" it if we are allowed to!

Les Johnson said...

This is porbably the best "denial". Erosion has been occuring in Alaska, at the rate of a few feet, to tens of feet per yeear, all along much the coastline.

Erosion rates were measured to range from a few feet to a few tens of feet per year along much of Alaska’s western and northern shorelines (MacCarthy, 1953; Hume et al., 1972; Hartwell, 1973; Lewellen, 1977; Harper, 1978).


Harper, J.R., 1978. Coastal erosion rates along the Chukchi Sea coast near Barrow, Alaska. Arctic, 31(4), 428-433.

Hartwell, A.D., 1973. Classification and relief characteristics of northern Alaska’s coastal zone. Arctic, 26(3), 244-252.

Hume, J.D., and M. Schalk, 1967. Shoreline processes near Barrow Alaska: a comparison of the normal and the catastrophic. Arctic, 20(2), 86-103.

Hume, J.D., et al., 1972. Short-term climate changes and coastal erosion, Barrow Alaska. Arctic, 25(4), 272-278.

Lewellen, R., 1977. A study of Beaufort Sea coastal erosion, northern Alaska. Environmental Assessment of the Alaskan Continental Shelf, Annual Reports of the Principal Investigators, Vol. XV (Transport). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, pp. 491-527.

MacCarthy, G.R., 1953. Recent changes in the shoreline near Point Barrow, Alaska. Arctic, 6(1), 44-51.

Les Johnson said...

Another arctic community forced to move due to melting ice.

In 1954.

Anonymous said...

I was a climate refugee. In april the cold climate forced me to go to Florida where it was warm.

Anonymous said...

Are these the 50 million climate refugees the UN predicted by 2010?

Anonymous said...

That little kid in the picture must be able to fly as he somehow managed to get atop of that stone without walking through any of the mud completely surrounding the stone and there are no footprints in the mud.

timg56 said...

Linking to a Suzanne Goldberg article is the anthesis of science journalism.

Paul S said...

Since there has been a predictable concerted effort to spread FUD on this issue + some presumably genuine confusion, I thought it would be a good idea to post exactly what the US Army Corp of Engineers' report said about the situation in Newtok:

'Newtok’s riverine erosion on the Ninglick River is aggravated by wave action and thermal degradation of the ice-rich riverbank. The long-term, average erosion rate is 71 feet per year, with peak erosion of approximately 113 feet in a single year. The community is experiencing almost annual flooding and has a water supply contaminated by flood-driven sewage spills. Severe damage is expected within 10 years. The community is actively involved in relocating and is pursuing several projects to relocate as quickly as possible.'

Whether the situation in Newtok could definitively be attributed to anthropogenic climate change, I'm not sure. However, climate change would be expected to exacerbate coastal erosion in Alaska by melting sea ice, leaving the coast more open to wave erosion, and melting of ice within the land itself which causes subsidence. My guess would be that they would have probably needed to move at some point anyway due to "normal" coastal erosion, but climate change in the Arctic has pushed forward the schedule by a few decades.