If, as suggested by a comprehensive new review in the journal Science, 2°C of global warming would lock in at least 20 feet (6 meters) of eventual sea level rise, what would that warming mean for the future and heritage of the U.S.? It would mean a map we don’t recognize: Louisiana would shed its boot, the Eastern seaboard would seriouslyMore
You may have heard that the world could be in for 20 feet of sea level rise even if it meets its climate goal of keeping warming below 2°C. And if you haven’t heard, feel free to get caught up over here. We’ll wait.
That rise would vastly reshape coastlines around the world and endanger millions unless efforts are made to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changes already in the pipeline. Specifically, 444,000 square miles of land that’s home to more than 375 million people today will be swallowed up by the oceans.
But saying that (and showing maps and figures) only conveys a fraction of the change society could be in for. To really understand what climate change could mean for coastal areas, photos really do the trick.
Below are 10 before-and-after images of iconic locations in major U.S. coastal cities if sea levels rose 25 feet. The after images were created by visual artist Nickolay Lamm using sea level rise mapping data developed by Climate Central. Boston’s Back Bay becomes the Front Bay, Los Angeles’s Venice Beach and Miami’s Ocean Drive disappear completely and the Washington Monument could find a second use as a lighthouse.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Back Bay Boston
Ocean Drive Miami
San Diego Convention Center
Statue of Libery
San Francisco’s Crissy Field
This originally appeared on Climate Central.