Is this America’s future? Shocking images show how national icons could be submerged by a 25 foot sea level rise within a few centuries
- Images include shots of Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C, Ocean Drive in Miami and the Statue of Liberty
- The photographs were developed by Pittsburgh-based digital artist Nickolay Lamm, based on real climate data
- Over course of the 20th century, sea levels across the globe rose faster than in any of the previous 29 centuries
Over the course of the 20th century, sea levels across the globe rose faster than in any of the previous 29 centuries, a new study has concluded.
Now a series of images showing what would happen if major US landmarks were flooded by rising tides has provided a glimpse of what could be our future.
In the shocking pictures the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C is surrounded by water, Ocean Drive in Miami looks like it would only be navigable by boat and Crissy Field in San Francisco is mostly under water.
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The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. as it is today is shown on the left, and the monument as it could be in a few centuries under 25ft of water is shown on the right
And you’d need waders to walk around The San Diego Convention Center, according to the predictions.
The photographs were developed by Pittsburgh-based digital artist Nickolay Lamm, based on sea level-rise mapping data from Climate Central.
His hypothetical scenes show national icons under four levels of flooding at each: 0 feet; 5 feet, which is possible in 100 to 300 years; 12 feet. possible by about 2300; and 25 feet, predicted in the coming centuries.
‘The maps – which these illustrations are based off of – are tidally adjusted, meaning they map out areas below different flood heights relative to high tide,’ Lamm wrote on his site.
‘The illustrations, on the other hand, imagine what the affected areas would look like based on varying degrees of low and medium tide.
‘Although no one can predict the exact rate the sea levels will rise, many self storage businesses are making an effort to become more environmentally friendly in an attempt to reduce the chances of these events from occurring.’
Harvard’s campus in the next few centuries if sea level rises 25 feet. The image shows how the campus in Massachusetts would be completely submerged by rising tides
And the need to do this is urgent, scientists say. A recent study has found the 5.5-inch (14cm) global rise is at least twice as much as would have been seen without global warming – and if the trend continues, scientists many of our cities will be underwater.
Earlier this week, scientists revealed that over the course of the 20th century, sea levels across the globe rose faster than in any of the previous 29 centuries.
The research discovered that the 5.5-inch (14cm) global rise is at least twice as much as would have been seen without global warming.
In fact, they believe levels might have actually fallen if it hadn’t been for soaring global temperatures.
‘The 20th century rise was extraordinary in the context of the last three millennia – and the rise over the last two decades has been even faster,’ said professor Robert Kopp, lead author of the report published in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences.
The pattern was revealed by a new statistical analysis technique which extracts global data from local records.
No local record measures global sea level. Instead, each measures sea level at a particular location, where it will differ from the global mean.
The statistical challenge is to pull out the global signal.
The scientists built a database of geological sea-level indicators from marshes, coral atolls and archaeological sites at 24 locations around the world, covering the past 3,000 years.
They also looked at tide gauge recordings for the last 300 years from 66 other locations.
Many of the records came from the field work of Kemp, Horton, or team members Roland Gehrels of the University of York and Jeffrey Donnelly of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
This information was used to calculate how temperatures relate to the rate of sea-level change.
Using this new technique, the researchers showed that the world’s sea level fell by about 11 inches (8cm) between 1000 and 1400AD, when the planet cooled by about 0.2°C.
Global average temperature today is about 1°C higher than at the end of the 19th century.
It also found that , had global warming not occurred in the 20th century, the change in sea level would ‘very likely’ have been between a decrease of 1.1 inch (3cm) and a rise of 2.8 inches (7cm).
Instead, the world actually saw a rise of 14cm.
A companion report also found that more than half of the 8,000 coastal nuisance floods observed at US tide gauge sites since 1950 would not have occurred.
Professor Kopp estimates that sea levels will rise by 20 inches to 51 inches (50cm to 130cm) in the 21st century, if the world continues to rely on fossil fuels.
However, it will only rise by 10 inches to 23.5 inches (25cm to 60cm) if fossil fuels are phased out.
‘Anthropogenic sea level rise poses challenges to coastal areas worldwide, and robust projections are needed to assess options,’ explained the researchers.
Pictured is a map of Harvard’s campus under 25ft of water. ‘The maps – which these illustrations are based off of – are tidally adjusted, meaning they map out areas below different flood heights relative to high tide,’ Nickolay Lamm wrote on his site
‘Here we present an approach that combines information about the equilibrium sea level response to global warming and last century’s observed contribution from the individual components to constrain projections for this century.
‘While applying semiempirical methodology, our method yields sea level projections that overlap with the process-based estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.’
A separate study earlier this month found that sea level rise caused by man-made climate change could last 10,000 years.
Even if global warming falls below the governments’ target of 2°C, around 20 per cent of the world’s population will be forced to migrate away from coasts.
That means that unless we cut carbon emission drastically, major cities such as New York, London, and Shanghai, will be completely submerged, scientists have warned.
The study, published in Nature Climate Change, argues that scientists have been short-sighted in looking at the impact of climate change over one or two centuries.
In the research, scientists looked at the impact of four possible levels of carbon pollution—1,280 to 5,120 billion tonnes—emitted between the year 2000 to 2300.
Studying data from over the last 20,000 years, the researchers predicted what will happen to global temperatures, sea level, and ice cover over the next 10,000 years.
WHICH COUNTRIES WILL SUFFER MOST FROM CLIMATE CHANGE?
Scandinavian countries and the UK are among the most likely to survive – but areas of sub-Saharan Africa will be hardest hit
In a separate study, climate change experts recently released a map of the world revealing how prepared different countries are to cope with the effects of climate change (shown above).
In the map 192 countries are ranked by their ‘vulnerability’ and ‘readiness’, producing an overall score on their fate, ranging from bad (zero) to excellent (100).
The results reveal that Scandinavian countries and the UK are among the most likely to survive – but areas of sub-Saharan Africa will be hardest hit.
The maps were created by London-based company The Eco Experts, using data from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, known as the ND-Gain Index.
They took into account location, terrain, pollution rates and national resources when calculating which countries would be most affected.
Countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark score well on the scale.
But places like Central America, Africa and India all appear at risk from natural disaster – and are poorly equipped to cope, said The Eco Experts.
Jon Whiting, of The Eco Experts warned: ‘Hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, droughts and flooding are all real dangers for some of these areas, and this is compounded by a lack of national strategy to counteract the effects.’
Burundi, Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo produced some of the lowest scores, meaning these countries will be the biggest victims of weather disasters.
A map of Ocean Drive in the next few centuries if sea level rises 25 feet (right), much of the area will still be under water if sea levels rose 12ft (left)
A map of the Washington Monument in the next few centuries if sea level rises 25 feet. Scientists estimate sea levels will rise by 20 inches to 51 inches (50cm to 130cm) in the 21st century
A map of New York City in 2300 if sea level rises 12 feet is shown is shown on the left, and with 25ft of sea level rise shown on the right. The more extreme scenario will see large parts of Manhattan flooded
The complex modelling effort was led by Michael Eby of the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University.
‘Carbon is going up, and even if we stop what we are doing in the relatively near future, the system will continue to respond because it hasn’t reached an equilibrium,’ Marcott explains.
‘If you boil water and turn off the burner, the water will stay warm because heat remains in it.’
A similar but more complex and momentous phenomenon happens in the climate system, according to the study which is written by nearly two dozen leading Earth scientists.
Current releases of the carbon contained in carbon dioxide total about 10 billion tons per year. The number is growing 2.5 per cent annually, more than twice as fast as in the 1990s.
Humans have already put about 580 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the researchers looked at the effect of releasing another 1,280 to 5,120 billion tons between 2000 and 2300.
‘In our model, the carbon dioxide input ended in 300 years, but the impact persisted for 10,000 years,’ Marcott says.
By 2300, the carbon dioxide level had soared from almost 400 parts per million to as much as 2,000 parts per million.
The most extreme temperature rise – about 7°C by the year 2300 – would taper off only slightly, to about 6°C, after 10,000 years.
The picture is disturbing, says co-author Shaun Marcott, an assistant professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Perhaps the most ominous finding concerns ‘commitment,’ Marcott says.
‘Most people probably expect that temperature and carbon dioxide will rise together and then temperature will come down when the carbon dioxide input is shut off.
‘But carbon dioxide has such a long life in the atmosphere that the effects really depend on how much you put in.
‘We are already committed to substantial rises in temperature. The only question is how much more is in the pipe.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3462662/What-America-looks-like-25-feet-water-Shocking-images-national-icons-submerged-centuries.html#ixzz41BUCwTyv
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