As illustrated in the documentary Everything's Cool, warming temperatures are causing icy barriers, which once protected Shishmaref, to form later in the season. This leaves the village vulnerable to fierce waves that pummel and eat away at the coastline.
As a result, entire foundations of houses have been destroyed as the ground has receded into the sea. Already, 18 houses have been relocated to higher ground, and rising water could eventually engulf the entire island. The estimated cost to relocate the village is $100 million.
Shishmaref isn't alone. Gore says there are 180 towns in Alaska that face similar threats from rising sea levels.