This may soon be what a day in the park looks like. Reuters/Jitendra Prakash

A new study paints an especially grim future for coastal cities like New York, Boston, and Miami. 

Sea levels, as we know, are incredibly sensitive to rises in global temperatures. A study released earlier this month revealed that the increase of a mere degree celsius could lead global sea levels to rise by as much as two meters. But according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the implications are especially grim for the US. At the current rate of carbon emissions, over 1,700 cities, including New York, Boston and Miami, will be “locked in” by greenhouse gas emissions by this century’s end. While the study doesn’t specify when these cities would begin to fall under water, the “locked in” date marks a point at which cities would not be able to escape being submerged by water in the future. In other words, by 2100, scores of US cities will have sealed their fate.

Even more striking: Nearly 80 cities and more than 800,000 people will have sealed their fate by 2023. Cambridge, Massachusetts, which houses both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will have done so by 2060. As will Norfolk, Virginia, home to America’s largest navy base.

Unfortunately, bigger cuts to carbon emissions by the US and other big polluters may not help. “Even if we could just stop global emissions tomorrow on a dime, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Hoboken, New Jersey will be under sea level,” author of the paper Benjamin Strauss told the Guardian. Already, half of U.S. shorelines are vulnerable to sea level rises.

Still, curbing carbon emissions could save as many as 1,000 cities from partial submergence, the study found. Even without dramatic cuts, incremental steps to lower emissions will likely spare hundreds of cities from that fate, including mega-centers like New York.

This article originally appeared on Quartz.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Do Driverless Cars Need Their Own Roads Around Manhattan?

    A concept for AV expressways promises to reduce travel times, but falls into an old trap of car-centric planning.

  2. Transportation

    Trump's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Has New Reason for Skepticism

    A lawsuit now alleges the president’s advisory council was convened illegally.

  3. Equity

    Why Jimmy Carter Believes Housing Is a Basic Human Right

    Richard Florida talks to the former president about housing, Habitat for Humanity, and how government assistance enabled their current success.

  4. A closed and boarded up public school in Chicago
    Equity

    What Happens When Poor Kids Are Taught Society Is Fair

    A new study finds that the myth of meritocracy can lead disadvantaged adolescents to act out and engage in risky behavior.

  5. Design

    Where Edmonton Goes Next

    The city that hosted this year’s Habitat for Humanity build also wants to create a downtown that attracts people to stay around after the Alberta oil boom has faded.