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Ear to the Ground

How Sea Levels Will Rise

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Posted on Nov 27, 2012
The New York Times

The light blue areas show the reach of seawater into New York City at a rise of 25 feet.

The New York Times on Sunday published a series of maps showing coastal and low-lying areas in the United States that could be permanently flooded as sea levels rise in the coming decades and centuries.

Major metropolitan areas on the country’s seaboards appear with toggleable settings showing the intrusion of the oceans at various levels of predicted elevation, using data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. At a rise of 25 feet, Charleston, S.C., is predicted to be 80 percent flooded; Miami Beach, New Orleans and Atlantic City 100 percent underwater; and New York City 39 percent submerged, with large portions of all five boroughs gone, including much of Manhattan below 34th Street.

None of this could be called “good” news, but many cities in the West are expected to make out relatively well. An estimated 13 percent of Seattle and 16 percent of Portland, Ore., are projected to disappear, along with 6 percent of San Diego, 19 percent of San Francisco and 3 percent of Los Angeles. Many of these cities’ most scenic areas lie within the vulnerable zones.

Another tool called Sea Level Rise Explorer, published by Global Warming Art, lets users view endangered areas across the world and provides further scientific background to the predictions.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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