Carbon, Climate, Change

Armed with new data from the University of California Irvine and NASA, Climate Central highlighted previously released data and images this week to show how an unstoppable melting Antarctic glacier will impact the U.S.

The rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is expected to lead to at least 4 feet of global, sea-level rise over the next two-plus centuries, and at least 10 feet thereafter. Climate Central gave artist Nickolay Lamm some of its data related to rising sea levels with the idea of him reenacting famous scenes from U.S. cities under the premise of a 12-foot-or-more rise.

The organization republished those “photorealistic” scenes a day after the Cal-NASA report. They which include Venice Beach, Harvard University’s campus and other famous, coastal locations that would be at risk if the research were to hold true (click on the link at the end of the story to view the images).

Climate Central also released a slew of interactive maps and data this week indicating which cities and regions of the U.S. would be most impacted following the rise. The organization estimates that we could lose 28,800 square miles of land, which is home to about 12.3 million people today.

Based on 2012 data from Climate Central, more than half the area of 40 large cities is less than 10 feet above the high-tide line. Twenty-seven of those cities are in Florida. About 85 percent of all current housing in Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward counties is below the critical line, making each county more threatened than any other entire state other than Florida, Ben Strauss writes.

“Each [county] sits on bedrock filled with holes, rendering defense by seawalls or levees almost impossible,” according to Strauss.

With a low-lying population of more than 700,000, New York City is by far the most-threatened city among those with the most people living on land less than 10 feet above the high-tide line. The value of threatened property in New York and New Jersey is more than $300 billion.

Affected land in Florida contains more than 32,000 miles of road and $950 billion of property. Examine maps and potential impacts of various cities by clicking here.

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