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Use these tools to help visualize the horror of rising sea levels


By now, everyone knows: the climate is changing, sea levels are rising, and the crises are likely to happen sooner than expected. Still, it’s one thing to know, and another thing to really see these potential disasters. Luckily (or unluckily), there’s no lack of tools to help the apathetic develop a visceral sense of what could be at stake.

First, Information Is Beautiful has used data from NASA, Sea Level Explorer, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to create the aptly named “When Sea Levels Attack,” which shows how many years are left until major cities are underwater.

 Graphic: Information is Beautiful

Next, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offers a tool that helps visualize “community-level impacts from coastal flooding or sea level rise” up to 10 feet above average high tides. You can zoom in to a particular area, run different scenarios, and see what happens when the water goes one feet, two feet, 10 feet higher than normal.

 Image: Sea Level Rise Viewer from NOAA

The Mapping Choices tool from Climate Central does essentially the same thing with an extra level of guilt because it shows you two scenarios and asks which sea level we will lock in.

 Graphic: Mapping Choices

The EarthTime sea level rise tool goes one step further and shows not only different major world cities, but scenarios under the Paris Accord and you can watch the changes happen before your eyes.

 Image: Sea Level Rise tool from EarthTime

And then there’s a new map that lets users peer 60 years into the future of North American cities. San Jose becomes like a city in LA County, and North Carolina will seem more Florida.

 Image: Fitz Labs

If all that has you down, The New York Times has created an interactive that shows what different countries are doing to cut carbon emissions and how adopting each of those policies could be helpful for the US. It’s a much more hopeful view.

What do you think?

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