Where will your great-great-great-great grandchildren live? Climate Central

Cities like Miami and Jacksonville, Florida, would lose more than half their land.

We’ve all heard doomsday predictions about what global warming means for coastal U.S. cities. And now a new, interactive map from nonprofit climate science publication Climate Central illustrates precisely how American cities will fare under the best and worst possible climate futures—and which ones will disappear completely.

Climate Central is not the first group to visualize how the US landscape will be altered, but as Wired notes, this map draws on new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (pdf) that ties carbon dioxide levels to sea level rise and layers in topography and population statistics.

The report doesn’t unearth exactly when water will begin flowing into coastal cities, but notes that our current carbon emissions will lock in changes that could start occurring in as early as 2200. (Even if we stopped burning fossil fuels today, carbon pollution already in the atmosphere would be high enough to register an effect for years to come.)

The map uses four different scenarios laid out by the Intergovernmental on Climate Change. In the best case, aggressive cuts would cause carbon emissions to peak within the next five years; in the worst case, pollution goes unchecked and emissions continue climbing through the year 2100.

Most of New Orleans will disappear even in the best climate future. (Climate Central)

Even with aggressive carbon cuts, cities like Miami and Jacksonville, Florida, could lose more than half their land. New York City and Boston are in danger of shrinking by a quarter.

New Orleans, meanwhile, is pretty much doomed any way you look at it. All of the city’s population-weighted area, based on 2010 U.S. Census data, is expected to fall below future sea levels if pollution goes unchecked or only minor carbon cuts are implemented. With aggressive cuts, still more than half of the area currently populated will go under water. That’s also true for parts of Florida, including Cape Coral, Miami Gardens, and Hollywood.

If triggered, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) covering the Antarctic and Greenland could leave tens of thousands of more Americans without dry land, even with extreme carbon cuts.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

You Can Now Get Half an MIT Master’s Degree Almost for Free, and Without Ever Going to MIT

Renovating Your Next House Will Feel Like Building a Giant Robot​

A New York Restaurant Empire is Finally Ending the Injustice of Tipping

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo collage of 2020 presidential candidates.
    Equity

    Will Housing Swing the 2020 Election?

    Among Democratic candidates for president, the politics of America’s housing affordability crisis are getting complicated. Just wait until Trump barges in.

  2. A photo of an abandoned building in Newark, New Jersey.
    Equity

    The 10 Cities Getting a Philanthropic Boost for Economic Mobility

    An initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ballmer Group focuses on building “pipelines of opportunity.”

  3. A cat lays flat on a bench at a park on the outskirts of Tokyo.
    Life

    Why Don't Americans Use Their Parks at Night?

    Most cities aren’t fond of letting people use parks after dark. But there are good lifestyle, environmental, and safety reasons to reconsider.

  4. Design

    How 'Maintainers,' Not 'Innovators,' Make the World Turn

    We need more stories about the labor that sustains society, a group of scholars say.

  5. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

×