(((NEXSTAR) – The most serious effects of climate change can feel far from home, but with a series of dramatic photo renderings released by Climate Central, the outlook for rising sea levels is surprisingly home. It’s nearby.
Climate Central is an organization of scientists and journalists focused on studying the effects of climate change and rising global temperatures. The group recently released the “Picturing Our Future” project. This project shows the world’s monuments and cities when the Earth rises 1.5 degrees Celsius above its pre-industrial level, and what it looks like when it rises three degrees above the same level. ..
In the series of slider images below, the image on the left represents a 1.5 degree warming scenario covered by the Paris Agreement. The image on the right shows what a “sea level rise” looks like on a planet that has warmed up to 3 degrees Celsius. (A change of 1.5 degrees Celsius is equivalent to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. 3 degrees Celsius is 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit.)
according to report According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in August, the world is set to exceed the important 1.5 degree threshold in the early 2030s. But that does not mean that we are seeing these flood scenarios take place in the next decade.
“This really uses deep predictions for the future,” said Peter Girard, Communications Director at Climate Central. Girard called each of the futures depicted a “century scenario.”
This is because as the Earth warms, polar ice melts, sea levels rise, and it takes time for the ocean to expand (as it heats).
We are already warming 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures, but we have not yet seen the full effect of such heat on sea level rise.
These predictions show their full final impact. “Each water level represents the final equilibrium point where the ocean stops rising after the Earth reaches a certain peak temperature,” Girard said.
Scientists are confident in these results. Girard explained that they just don’t know the exact timing.
“In general, it’s easy to figure out the volume, so science is easy to understand how the high seas rise, and it’s hard to figure out when that happens.”
This is an abstractly difficult concept to understand, but these images make the effects of sea level rise concrete and realistic.
“The sea is more or less in the usual place,” Girard said. “It’s really hard to get people to understand that we live in a world where they are moving and they are rising.”
Not all of the places depicted are on the coast (although many are on the coast). A series of images from Climate Central also show the impact of rising sea levels on inland communities.
“The river rises with the sea,” Girard said. “All of these connections are affected by rising sea levels. Communities that often wonder if they are further upstream on the beach are still connected to this global system.”
The science used to create the projection is complex, but it is basically summarized in three parts.
- Analysis of sea level rise based on IPCC forecasts
- Forecast of expected coastal floods
- Creating a Digital Elevation Model — This is actually the hardest part. Most older models overestimated the height of the ground and therefore underestimated the effects of flooding.
Girard wants complex science to turn into something meaningful to people when they see these images.
“Many of this story tells much of climate change at the world level. One of the things we tried to do in our research was to bring it to the personal and regional levels. Each of these places resonates differently from people because they are familiar with them and they care about them. “
Girard also said that some aspects of the project left a particularly strong impression on him. “The idea that familiar places can be very unfamiliar.”
See how more US cities and world monuments are affected by rising sea levels Climate Central website.
https://www.wkrg.com/national/what-u-s-cities-will-look-like-with-sea-level-rise-according-to-scientific-projections/ What will US cities look like as sea levels rise, according to scientific forecasts – WKRG News 5