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Sea levels and cities

Climate Central’s Google Earth fly-overs show how 4ºC of warming would affect coastal megacities
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If we continue on our current course, we should expect to experience 4ºC of warming. The sea level rise that would be locked in at that stage would submerge land that’s currently home to 470 to 760 million people.

Aggressive carbon cuts that limiting warming to 2°C could bring that number down to 130 million people.

These are the stakes for global climate talks December in Paris.

Cities under water – this is how coastal cities could look if climate change isn’t addressed

Google Earth fly-overs

Analysis from Climate Central details the implications of different warming scenarios for every coastal nation and megacity on the planet.

The independent organisation of leading scientists and journalists has also published Google Earth fly-over videos. They illustrate the different futures possible for coastal cities around the world where 3D building data is available in Google Earth.

‘For this project we developed special KML layers corresponding precisely to different elevated global sea surfaces that could be locked in by different carbon emissions pathways, as projected in our recent scientific paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. The sea level rise required to reach these levels would most likely play out over centuries — but we set the path today.’

Climate Central



New York




Hong Kong




Click here to read the full Climate Central paper, ‘Carbon choices determine US cities committed to futures below sea level’.

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