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Social Issues
If Climate Change Floods Everything, Here’s One View On How It Might Look
April 12, 2013
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Jefferson Memorial, Washington DC (Images: Nickolay Lamm/GIF: PopSci)

To be clear right off the top, we have no idea if the images in this story will actually happen.

In some ways, this is educated guesswork based on the warnings we hear about climate change. But it's certainly a compelling and unnerving visual interpretation.

Scientists have raised a lot of concerns regarding climate change: the potential loss of species, an increase in extreme weather, more turbulence on airplanes... And of course, rising sea levels.

According to some recent studies, sea levels are rising around the world even faster than predicted.

LiveScience reported on a study that found sea levels going up about 3.2 millimetres each year, significantly more than the 2 millimetre-per-year estimate put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007.

South Beach, Miami (Images: Nickolay Lamm/GIF: PopSci)

Although those numbers are worrying, they're also pretty small in and of themselves. It's hard to actually picture the long-term effects of such a tiny yearly adjustment.

Enter artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm. The 24-year-old Pittsburgh resident put together these photo illustrations showing the possible effect of rising water on recognizable spots around the U.S.

Boston Harbour (Images: Nickolay Lamm/GIF: PopSci)

The images are based on IPCC predictions about climate change, cross-referenced with sea level rise maps from Climate Central graphic artist Remik Ziemlinski. Lamm used Google Maps to pinpoint exactly where the photos he used were taken, and then calculated how predicted rises in sea level would impact that spot.

The artist says he was inspired to create the images, which Popular Science converted into GIFs, by this interactive New York Times infographic on sea level change.

Even if the projections are accurate, it's not quite time to break out your boogie board: the images represent various moments in the fairly distant future.

First up sea levels as they may be later this century (about a five-foot rise), then in 300 years (12.5 feet), and finally under 25 feet of water, which would potentially happen a few hundred years after that.

The Statue of Liberty, NYC (Images: Nickolay Lamm/GIF: PopSci)

Although the scenarios might not be here tomorrow or perhaps never, Lamm hopes his illustrations will get people even more engaged when it comes to climate change and its impact.

Via PopSci


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