Impact of Sea Level Rise on a Global Icon

  • Durban
  • London
  • Mumbai
  • Rio
  • Shanghai
  • Sydney
  • WallStreet

Long-term sea level rise set in motion by near-term carbon emissions threatens major global cities. These paired images show major cities around the world could fare under scenarios of business as usual vs. a sharp transition to clean energy.

The left image of the pair shows projections of eventual sea level rise that would be locked in following 7.2°F (4°C) of warming from carbon pollution in the coming decades. This pathway corresponds roughly to business as usual. The right image depicts a projection based on 3.6°F (2°C) of warming from carbon pollution. This degree of warming corresponds to the target limit widely discussed as the threshold to avoid catastrophic climate change — and officially designated as part of the Cancun Agreement, signed in 2010 by international delegates gathered under the umbrella of the United Nations.

Climate Central’s 2015 Mapping Choices report—and its associated images and videos—have to do with long-term sea level rise that near-term emissions can lock in by 2100 or 2050 based on different emission scenarios, but does not put a firm date on when the long-term sea level rise projections are fulfilled. Different eventualities could be locked in by carbon emissions in the coming decades and century. Carbon emissions this century can lock in these projected threats, but the associated sea level rise is expected to play out over a longer period, likely centuries. Access Climate Central’s interactive map  and click on the “When will this happen?” pop-up to learn more.

Source: Climate Central