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The Big Melt: Watch Alaska's Coastline Collapse Into the Sea

Time lapse footage from National Geographic shows the incredible shrinking Alaskan coastline.

The polar regions are the real canaries in the climate change coal mine. While the entire planet is warming, the temperature increases at the poles are mind-boggling. Remember how the crazy polar warming broke NASA's temperature scale? These charts show the temperature anomaly above the history average.

This warming is causing all sorts of changes up in the Arctic, as ice and permafrost melt and wind and current patterns shift. According to a new piece in National Geographic, in some areas, arctic permafrost coast is "collapsing into the sea by as much as 100 feet a year." The average rate of collapse is over a foot and a half every year.

They also feature this incredible video from 2009 of what this collapse and erosion really looks like:


All of this footage occurred between July 11 and August 22nd of that year. It's important to note that this isn't directly, immediately attributable to global climate change. This stretch of Alaska's coast has been eroding for centuries. But the rate of erosion over the past decade far exceeds anything on the historical record. How the historically unprecedented warming in the arctic is impacting wind and ocean currents is a complex calculus that certainly needs a lot more research. But you'd be hard-pressed to find any scientist who isn't funded by the fossil fuel industries who wouldn't say that it is at least very likely that the warming is responsible for the increased rate of erosion. Paging Sarah Palin: your state is shrinking.

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