Kivalina is disappearing, the victim of a warming world and a steady natural erosion that probably began long before the Eskimos settled here 100 years ago.
"You see the white water out there?" Swan said, pointing to some ripples a couple hundred feet offshore. "That's where the beach used to be."
When he was growing up here in the 1970s, the ocean would freeze each fall into a slush the thickness of mashed potatoes. Waves from the storms would crash into the ice, not the shore.
Lately, the autumn ocean has been a vast, iceless expanse that leaves the beach vulnerable to waves. The island is now a sliver of sand and permafrost less than 600 feet across at its widest point. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will be 10 to 15 years before the ground beneath the clump of clapboard houses washes away.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Los Angeles Times: