Rising sea levels are one of the most concerning consequences associated with global climate change, thanks to melting polar ice and thermal expansion caused by warming ocean waters — and we’re already starting to see its effects on coastal communities around the world.
The US Geological Survey estimates that if all the world’s glaciers melted, sea level would rise by about 80 meters, or more than 260 feet. This scenario could be thousands of years in the future, but it would render many of the world’s best-loved coastal cities unrecognizable.
Jeffrey Linn, a Seattle man with a background in geography and urban planning, has created a series of maps of major US cities based on this doomsday scenario. He used actual geographic data from the areas to make the maps as realistic as possible.
Linn says his interest in the subject was sparked by the book “Always Coming Home,” by Ursula Le Guin.
“The novel is sort of a future anthropology of California’s Napa Valley, and in it she looks into the future and sees the California Central Valley flooded by sea-level rise,” Linn says. “Since then, I would often think about what would the world around us would look like once all the ice caps melted.”
While this extreme amount of sea-level rise isn’t expected to happen for millennia, Linn’s cheeky names for the potential new landforms and bodies of water that emerge in his maps give often humorous insight into life in the cities of the future.
Linn has mapped eight US cities so far, and is currently working on mapping several locations in the UK.
In New York City, even after only 100 feet of sea-level rise, the island of Manhattan is almost totally submerged. Brooklyn and Queens are reduced to a handful of small islands. And the iconic Statue of Liberty? Washed away. Check out the map below.