See How Sea-Level Rise Might Drown Some Cities

ENVIRONMENT

A new map from Climate Central shows how water will flow into hundreds of U.S. cities under the best and worst global warming scenarios. (Wired)

Watch our video to better understand sea level rise, and why polar ice caps matter to tropical coasts.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

Will the Mall be drowned in a century? This map presents extreme scenarios for how sea-level rise may impact downtown Washington, D.C. The left shows a scenario of unchecked pollution, while the right shows a scenario of extreme cuts in carbon emissions. Click to find other coastal cities and adjust for temperature and different levels of carbon-emission reduction. Map courtesy Climate Central

Will the Mall be drowned in a century? This map presents extreme scenarios for how sea-level rise may impact downtown Washington, D.C. The left shows a scenario of unchecked pollution, while the right shows a scenario of extreme cuts to carbon emissions. Click to find other coastal cities and adjust for temperature and different levels of carbon-emission reduction.
Map courtesy Climate Central

Discussion Ideas

  • The intriguing and terrifying scenarios suggested by the Climate Central maps represent how sea-level rise may impact coastal cities. What is sea-level rise? What does it have to do with carbon emissions and global warming?

 

 

 

 

 

  • Despite the dramatic evidence of the Surging Seas maps, the Wired article is reassuring: “Existential nihilists however, can relax: Nobody’s doomed yet.” Why?
    • The Climate Central maps are a long, long projection.
      • “It turns out it’s a lot easier to project how much the sea level will rise than how quickly the sea level will rise,” says Strauss.
      • Blame geology for the uncertainty. “We do not know much about the bedrock on which the ice lies,” says Anders Levermann, study co-author. Under the ice, Greenland and Antarctica are uncharted territories. In order to calculate the rate at which those massive ice sheets slough off, Levermann says he would need to know more about the texture of the underlying rock.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Wired: Map Shows Where Sea Level Rise Will Drown American Cities

Climate Central: ‘Mapping Choices’ Launched to Visualize Carbon Choices

Nat Geo: Why Melting Glaciers Matter to the Coasts

Climate Central: Surging Seas: Mapping Choices (interactive map)

Nat Geo: Yes, Mr. President, We Remade Our Arctic Atlas

Nat Geo: Sea Level, Climate Change, and the Chesapeake Bay (hi-res map)

(extra credit!) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: Carbon choices determine US cities committed to futures below sea level

One response to “See How Sea-Level Rise Might Drown Some Cities

  1. Good resources, the might in the title is sadly a little optimistic. A small point, the resources are helpful, as ever.

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