Surging Seas: Seeing Choices

Posted on: 6/12/2019 - Updated on: 1/23/2024

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UPDATE: Seeing Choices has been been retired and replaced with the Coastal Risk Screening Tool.

What’s the difference between the old map and this new one?

Both the new and old map depict the long term sea level rise consequences of different amounts of global warming as projected in Strauss et al. 2015, which builds on the projections of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2013). However, this new map uses newer, more accurate elevation data. For more details about this map, click on the Details and Limitations button.

Previous description:

This map shows sea levels locked in by different amounts of carbon pollution, according to recent scientific research. If we burn enough fossil fuels to heat the planet by 4°C—continuing a path of unchecked pollution—we could drown coastal cities worldwide. If we make a rapid transition to a global clean energy economy and achieve the main goal of the Paris Agreement, limiting warming to 2°C, some cities will be saved. If we go faster and further to achieve the most ambitious Paris goal, 1.5°C, the outlook improves dramatically. Still, it is sobering to map the challenges following after 1°C of warming, a level we have just passed.

According to Climate Central’s analysis, 470 to 760 million people (central finding, 627 million) live on land that would be condemned by 4°C warming. The number drops by more than half for 2°C, and more than half again for 1.5°C.

These two efforts evaluate how much warming we can currently expect in light of the national pledges made at Paris and the policies developed since then.

Managing Organizations

Climate Central is an independent nonprofit organization that was founded in 2008 to meet the need for a central authoritative source for climate change information.

Climate Central scientists publish peer-reviewed research on climate science; energy; impacts such as sea level rise; climate attribution and more. But our work isn't confined to scientific journals. We investigate and synthesize weather and climate data and science to equip local communities and media with the tools they need to visualize the threat of climate change and the need for practical solutions.


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