It's easy to laugh off the image of an underwater New York City when it comes from something like the humorous maps made by designer Jeffrey Linn that show neighborhoods like Bed Sea, Middrown, and Port Greene. But it's not so easy to laugh off when the image comes from climate change scientists. New data published in Science shows that if the planet warms by 2 degrees Celsius, sea levels will rise about 20 feet. It's pretty much a given that this will happen, it's just a matter of whenit could be by the end of the century. A 20-foot rise is no where near Linn's extreme depiction of a 100-foot rise, but it would still radically alter our coastline. The group Climate Central created an interactive map (h/t Gizmodo) that shows what this would mean for major cities in the United States. In New York, it means that entire neighborhoods would be wiped out and 1.8 million people would be displaced.
Obviously, it's impossible to pinpoint when exactly this could happen, but according to Gizmodo, "scientists are modeling two different warming scenarios to help humans plot a roadmap for how to avoid these futures." In one model, the planet could warm by 2 degrees Celsius within a centuryand with people living to be 116 friggin' years old, that means kids today would experience thisbut Climate Central notes that two centuries is more likely:
· US Coastlines Will Change Dramatically When Earth Warms by 2°C [Gizmodo]
· Surging Seas 2C Warming and Sea Level Rise [Climate Central]
· Will Your Neighborhood Survive the Apocalyptic Floods? [Curbed]