Storm over Kasegaluk Lagoon | Oil and the Whales | 2006 | 68 in. x 86 in.
Late June 2006, Kasegaluk Lagoon, along the Chukchi Sea coast, Alaska. In recent years, the Iñupiat people of the Arctic coast of Alaska have been experiencing more frequent and severe intensity storms than anytime before that they remember, a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. More open water on the oceans (Arctic and the Pacific), combined with severe storms, are making their traditional hunting on small boats more dangerous. Moreover, thinner, less extensive sea ice creates more open water, allowing stronger wave generation by winds, thus increasing wave–induced coastal erosion. Sea level rise and thawing of permafrost, both consequences of climate change, exacerbate the coastal erosion problem. Several coastal villages in Alaska, including Shishmaref and Kivalina, are facing the prospect of immediate relocation, while many other communities are also being impacted significantly and may have to be relocated in the future.