Sea Revels Rise

Arctic Ocean (Photo: GettyImages)Arctic Ocean (Photo: GettyImages)More open water in the Arctic Ocean allows erosion due to wave action to affect the coast for longer periods, particularly during fall, when storms tend to be stronger with higher storm surges.

The resulting destruction has already forced residents of the Alaskan town of Shishmaref to vote to abandon their village. More than half the residents of the nearby village of Kivalina were forced to evacuate on September 13 2007, when 25-40 mph winds drove a 3-4 foot high storm surge into the town.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a $3 million sea wall to protect the town, but the wall has not been able to hold against recent storms. Over 100 feet of coastline has been lost in the past three years.

More open water also means more moisture and heat will be available to power storms.

These stronger storms will bringer higher winds and higher storm surges to coastal areas in the Arctic over the remainder of the 21st century, resulting in increased erosion and flooding of low-lying areas.

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