Scientists from Climate Central, Princeton, and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, modeled the effect of 2 and 4 degrees increase in temperatures, and the resulting sea level rise. They found that the homes of 280 million people will be underwater in the first case scenario, while the 4 degrees rise will result in water covering the land occupied by more than 600 million.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points out that the world’s major cities are under a very real threat. These include New York, Mumbai and Shanghai. Other cities that should be worried are London, Miami, New Orleans, Hong Kong, and many coastal cities in South America and Southeast Asia.
According to the authors, these predictions will not come true over night. In fact, the consequences of this temperature rise might become apparent in many centuries from now, even in thousands of years. However, it all depends on how much carbon we all release into the atmosphere in the coming years. The team emphasizes on the fact that the difference in damage that could happen with 2C rise and 4C is huge.
The findings are based on climate models, which include factors like expansion of the ocean water as it becomes warmer, the reduction in size of the ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctic, and the melting of the glaciers. The authors produced interactive maps, using data from Google Maps and combining these with the modeled projections of sea level rise.
All data are open source and available to download from Climate Central. Using the data layer, you can in fact create your own map, and check whether your neighborhood will be affected. Now, if you happen to do so, do share your map with Climate Central- the best ones will go online.
The team is thrilled that they could publish their study right in time for the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties- the UN climate meeting in Paris. The main goal of this meeting is to find ways to cap the increase in temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Image (c) Climate Central