The people of Newtok, on the west coast of Alaska and about 400 miles south of the Bering Strait that separates the state from Russia, are living a slow-motion disaster that will end, very possibly within the next five years, with the entire village being washed away.
The Ninglick River coils around Newtok on three sides before emptying into the Bering Sea. It has steadily been eating away at the land, carrying off 100ft or more some years, in a process moving at unusual speed because of climate change. Eventually all of the villagers will have to leave, becoming America’s first climate change refugees.
Deforestation, fires, flooding and melting ice are among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month
Photos: 1. Swirling patterns created by ploughs in the rolling hills of farmland in the northwest US. In this image, taken over Washington state, the diagonal line running next to the Touchet River is a road that connects the town of Prescott to the west to Waitsburg to the eastPhotograph: KARI/ESA
2. A nocturnal image of the area of Phoenix, Arizona, taken on 16 March. Like many large urban areas of the central and western US, the Phoenix metropolitan area is laid out along a regular grid of city blocks and streets. The image area includes parts of several cities in the metropolitan area including Phoenix proper (right), Glendale (centre), and Peoria (left)Photograph: ISS/Nasa
3. Springtime in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of France, as in most places, is a season of abundant growth. This image, taken on 20 April, shows a phytoplankton bloom. The swirling colors indicate the presence of vast numbers of phytoplankton, tiny plant-like microorganisms that live in both fresh and salt water. Although these organisms live year-round in the Bay of Biscay, it is only when conditions are right that explosive blooms occurPhotograph: Modis/Aqua/Nasa
Australia’s iconic marsupial is under threat. Formerly hunted almost to extinction for their woolly coats, koalas are now struggling to survive as habitat destruction caused by droughts and bushfires, land clearing for agriculture and logging, and mining and urban development conspire against this cuddly creature.
A Dormouse appears to be laughing as it sits on top of a yarrow flower. The amusing photograph, taken by Italian photographer Andrea Zampatti, in Italy, shows how the heat had a strange effect on this little critter. Photograph: Andrea Zampatti/HotSpot Media
Michele Palazzi has been awarded the CIWEM environmental photographer of the year award 2013 for his image entitled ‘Gone with the Dust #02’. Palazzi, who is from Rome, Italy, was awarded £5,000 by CIWEM’s president, Paul Hillman, at a private awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society on 9 April 2013. His striking image shows a young boy and his sister during a sand storm in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. See more images in our gallery
Scientists say it is possible that there have never been fewer butterflies in Britain since it was first inhabited by humans due, in part, to the miserable weather of 2012. The orange-tip population (above) dropped by 34%. Habit loss and agricultural intensification mean that many species live in isolated colonies in small nature reserves, making them particularly vulnerable to extinction after adverse weather. Photograph: Butterfly Conservation