Science

Climate change: The holiday destinations that will disappear if sea levels rise by just 20 inches

New York, Venice, the Maldives — these and more popular holiday destinations are at risk of being flooded or totally submerged by sea level rise, experts have warned.

While cities like New Orleans and Tokyo will face increased risk of flooding, places like the Seychelles and Fiji may disappear beneath the waves entirely. 

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate change will lead to between 17–33 inches (32–84 cm) of average global sea level rise by 2100. 

Researchers with financial comparison service Money have produced travel posters imagining the impact of dramatic sea level rise on famous destinations.

While the wetter vistas they have dreamed up are exaggerated, the artworks draw attention to the plight faced by many coastal areas from rising sea levels.

Researchers with money.co.uk have produced travel posters imagining the impact of dramatic sea level rise on famous destinations, like Hong Kong (pictured). While the wetter vistas they have dreamed up are exaggerated (Hong Kong will likely see only 2–4.3 feet of sea level rise, rather than that depicted) the art highlights the plight faced by many coastal areas

Researchers with money.co.uk have produced travel posters imagining the impact of dramatic sea level rise on famous destinations, like Hong Kong (pictured). While the wetter vistas they have dreamed up are exaggerated (Hong Kong will likely see only 2–4.3 feet of sea level rise, rather than that depicted) the art highlights the plight faced by many coastal areas

Cities like New Orleans and Tokyo will face increased risk of flooding, while places like the Seychelles and Fiji may disappear beneath the waves entirely, the team have warned

Cities like New Orleans and Tokyo will face increased risk of flooding, while places like the Seychelles and Fiji may disappear beneath the waves entirely, the team have warned

Hong Kong, meanwhile — which presently is visited by some 56 million tourists each year — could face around 2–4.3 feet (0.6–1.3 metres) of sea level rise by 2100, with devastating consequences for its 8.4 million residents and bustling financial sector

Hong Kong, meanwhile — which presently is visited by some 56 million tourists each year — could face around 2–4.3 feet (0.6–1.3 metres) of sea level rise by 2100, with devastating consequences for its 8.4 million residents and bustling financial sector

‘While sea-level rise is likely to affect hundreds of millions of people throughout this century, certain tourist destinations are at serious risk of completely vanishing by 2100,’ the researchers explained.

‘In particular, the Small Island Developing States — Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Micronesia, Palau, Seychelles, Maldives, and others — are at serious risk of vanishing due to their low lying landscapes.’

‘Already, the residents of these countries are having to consider their future homes, and further rising sea levels threaten to displace millions more.’

The Republic of the Maldives, for example, could lose as much as 77 per cent of its land area to the sea by 2100, some experts have warned based on predictions that waters could rise by around 3.3 feet (1 metre).

‘Although other holidaying hotspots are unlikely to completely disappear, extreme flooding is likely to become a regular occurrence because of accelerated sea-level rise, caused by global warming,’ the experts continued.

Coastal areas such as those around Alexandria, Cape Town, Miami, Shanghai and Tokyo are likely to be seriously impacted by rising waters — effecting the lives of their residents, local infrasture and tourism.

‘Similarly, in global cities such as London, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, and New York, future visitors may have to take a “Red London boat” to see Big Ben, or go by canal boat to the Empire State building,’ the researchers added.

'In global cities such as London, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, and New York, future visitors may have to take a "Red London boat" to see Big Ben, or go by canal boat to the Empire State building,' experts warned. The team imagined a travel poster for the New York of today (pictured) and of 2100 (right), in which the Statue of Liberty is submerged up to the waist beneath an exaggerated volume of water. In reality, sea levels are expected to rise by some 17–33 inches — enough, however, to result in an increased risk of flooding

'In global cities such as London, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, and New York, future visitors may have to take a "Red London boat" to see Big Ben, or go by canal boat to the Empire State building,' experts warned. The team imagined a travel poster for the New York of today and of 2100 (pictured), in which the Statue of Liberty is submerged up to the waist beneath an exaggerated volume of water. In reality, sea levels are expected to rise by some 17–33 inches — enough, however, to result in an increased risk of flooding

‘In global cities such as London, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, and New York, future visitors may have to take a “Red London boat” to see Big Ben, or go by canal boat to the Empire State building,’ experts warned. Pictured: the team imagined a travel poster for the New York of today (left) and of 2100 (right), in which the Statue of Liberty is submerged up to the waist beneath an exaggerated volume of water. In reality, sea levels are expected to rise by some 17–33 inches — enough, however, to result in an increased risk of flooding

New York City (pictured) contains ‘the largest population living inside a floodplain’, the researchers noted, adding that tens of thousands of people could potentially be displaced by rising waters, especially in low-lying boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens

New York, for example, could see as much as six feet of sea level rise by the end of the century — not enough to submerge the Statue of Liberty up to her waste as in the Money travel poster, but certainly a problem for the Big Apple’s residents.

The city contains ‘the largest population living inside a floodplain’, the researchers noted, adding that tens of thousands of people could potentially be displaced by rising waters, especially in low-lying boroughs like Brooklyn and Queens.

Hong Kong, meanwhile — which presently is visited by some 56 million tourists each year — could face around 2–4.3 feet (0.6–1.3 metres) of sea level rise by 2100, with devastating consequences for its 8.4 million residents and bustling financial sector.

More information on the research can be found on the Money website. 

'The Small Island Developing States — Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Micronesia, Palau, Seychelles, Maldives [depicted], and others — are at serious risk of vanishing due to their low lying landscapes,' researchers with Money.co.uk warned

‘The Small Island Developing States — Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Micronesia, Palau, Seychelles, Maldives [depicted], and others — are at serious risk of vanishing due to their low lying landscapes,’ researchers with Money.co.uk warned

The Republic of the Maldives — famous for its iconic overwater bungalows — could lose as much as 77 per cent of its land area to the sea by 2100, some experts have warned based on predictions that waters could rise by around 3.3 feet (1 metre)

The Republic of the Maldives — famous for its iconic overwater bungalows — could lose as much as 77 per cent of its land area to the sea by 2100, some experts have warned based on predictions that waters could rise by around 3.3 feet (1 metre)

GLACIERS AND ICE SHEETS MELTING WOULD HAVE A ‘DRAMATIC IMPACT’ ON GLOBAL SEA LEVELS

Global sea levels could rise as much as 10ft (3 metres) if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica collapses. 

Sea level rises threaten cities from Shanghai to London, to low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and to entire nations such as the Maldives. 

In the UK, for instance, a rise of 6.7ft (2 metres) or more may cause areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of east London and the Thames Estuary at risk of becoming submerged.

The collapse of the glacier, which could begin with decades, could also submerge major cities such as New York and Sydney.

Parts of New Orleans, Houston and Miami in the south on the US would also be particularly hard hit.

A 2014 study looked by the union of concerned scientists looked at 52 sea level indicators in communities across the US.

It found tidal flooding will dramatically increase in many East and Gulf Coast locations, based on a conservative estimate of predicted sea level increases based on current data.

The results showed that most of these communities will experience a steep increase in the number and severity of tidal flooding events over the coming decades.

By 2030, more than half of the 52 communities studied are projected to experience, on average, at least 24 tidal floods per year in exposed areas, assuming moderate sea level rise projections. Twenty of these communities could see a tripling or more in tidal flooding events.

The mid-Atlantic coast is expected to see some of the greatest increases in flood frequency. Places such as Annapolis, Maryland and Washington, DC can expect more than 150 tidal floods a year, and several locations in New Jersey could see 80 tidal floods or more.

In the UK, a two metre (6.5 ft) rise by 2040 would see large parts of Kent almost completely submerged, according to the results of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in November 2016.

Areas on the south coast like Portsmouth, as well as Cambridge and Peterborough would also be heavily affected.

Cities and towns around the Humber estuary, such as Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby would also experience intense flooding. 


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