Friday , December 4 2020

Alaska's disappeared ice threatens to destroy cultures – including ourselves Victoria Herrmann | Barn

There is a line in the 2018 Arctic Report Garden that I continue to return.

Released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is marked with the record alarm low for almost the whole ice season in the Bering Sea.

The line brings me back to a sunny sunset in the Native Village of Teller, Alaska.

I'm standing with the Mayor of Obanoke-Garnie Blanche, just above Teller's shoreline. I had traveled around 4,000 miles to the north as a National Geographic Explorer to listen to and learn how Americans respond to the dynamic and dangerous shifts along our coastline as sea levels rise.

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As we look out to the broad breadth of the sea, Blanche explained that ice, and the defense that was received, has always been given to Teller.

Teller is located on the most northerly edge of the North American continent. There is a remote town of around 230 inhabitants of Iñupiat, the community has built on a gravel spill that flows to the Bering River. Sea ice is essential to the survival of the village, which has surrounded on three sides of water.

In normal years, ice begins to form the Bering Sea coasts falling early. It serves as an extension to the shoreline, providing a thick cushion to protect coastal villages such as Teller from strong seasonal storms.

But climate change has introduced a new, dangerous new.

Alaska warms twice the rate of the global average. And as the air temperature and the sea warm up at the speed of recording, the sea's ice is much more thin and later in the year. According to the Arctic Report Card, during the winter of 2017 and 2018 when ice accumulates historical, the Bering Sea lost part of the Idaho size ice.

Without any ice, Teller has no natural protection from an increasingly intense storm surge that is the city street flood and sewerage system every year. The US Corps of Engineers has identified Teller as one of the most recent-threatened villages in Alaska of this flood. One of 12 communities exploring relocating away from the coast is further into inland land to higher, drier ground.

For Blanche, the loss of sea ice is more than a scientific indicator of continuous Arctic warming. It represents the daily danger of losing places, stories and traditions that define Teller as a Native-century community.

But while the fate of Teller has to connect closely to the heat of the sea and the sea, not the only community that faces the consequences of melting the unexpected mirror of Arctic. The size of the ocean ice in the Arctic affects the safety of Americans in Alabama and Arizona just as much as it is in Alaska.

Sea frost in the colonial regions helps to moderate global climate by reflecting solar radiation back to space. But as more ice is lost every season, more heat is absorbed by the sea, compromising the Arctic ability to keep the Earth cool. And with more global warming, bring more extreme storms across our shared world.

Today, 96% of Americans live in counties that have been hit by major disasters in the weather during the last five years alone.

Regardless of which corner of this country you are calling home, even the coast, the mountains, the Great Lakes or the Great Plains, & # 39 ; The climate change already causes billions of dollars in compensation and cultural loss that can not be changed.

Serious heating and 95% of the oldest Arctic ice loss identified in the Arctic Report Card not only push the region into an illegal territory. It's pushing our whole world to the "leading bridges" in human history. Arctic ice loss changes our shared planet at an exceptional and life-threatening rate.

For me, the Ice Bering Sea loss set out in the Arctic Report Card represents the risk of losing places, stories and traditions that define communities across America – not only in Alaska.

In October, the world's leading scientists warned that we have only 12 years to include a climate change disaster in a notable UN report. We can not afford to wait to act ambitious on climate change. The Arctic is already facing a climate change disaster in 2018.

And what's happening in the Arctic, does not stay in the Arctic. It affects us all.

  • Victoria Herrmann is the Managing Director of the Arctic Institute, Gates Comprehensive School at Cambridge University, and National Geographic Explorer

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