Disturbing before-and-after images show what major US cities could look like in the year 2100

Google Earth/Climate CentralTrump Plaza in Jersey City, New Jersey, could be sitting in water by 2100.

The world’s sea levels are rising at faster and faster rates as waters warm and ice sheets melt.

Researchers led by Steve Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, looked at satellite data dating back to 1993 to track sea-level rise.

Their findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that sea levels aren’t just rising, but that the rate has been accelerating over the past 25 years.

Even small increases can have huge consequences, experts on climate say. If the worst climate-change predictions come true, coastal US cities from New York to New Orleans will be devastated by flooding and greater exposure to storm surges by 2100.

The research group Climate Central has created a plug-in for Google Earth to illustrate how catastrophic an “extreme” sea-level-rise scenario would be if the flooding happened today, based on projections in a 2017 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

You can install the plug-in and see what might become of major US cities.


In a worst-case scenario, flooding caused by polar melting and ice-sheet collapses could cause a sea-level rise of 10 to 12 feet by 2100, NOAA reported in January 2017.


Here’s Washington, DC, today, with the Potomac River running through it.

Google Earth/Climate Central

And here’s what Washington, DC, might look like in 2100, as seen on Climate Central’s plug-in for Google Earth. Rising sea levels could cause the river to overflow.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Despite claims by the former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump drew modest crowds at his inauguration in January 2017 along the National Mall, which sits at the foot of the US Capitol.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Future inaugurations wouldn’t be quite the same.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Last year, Trump stood outside the White House and announced his intentions to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, a deal among 195 countries designed to mitigate climate change.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: Business Insider


In 2100, the White House’s Rose Garden could have an oceanfront view.

Google Earth/Climate Central

New York City is situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours.

Google Earth/Climate Central

The Hudson River could flood the city’s perimeter and low-lying areas like the West Village by 2100.

Google Earth/Climate Central

The Financial District encompasses the offices of many major financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Extreme sea-level rise could devastate Wall Street. Battery Park would be a water park.

Google Earth/Climate Central

San Francisco is home to a huge concentration of wealth and power in the technology world.

Google Earth

It’s also a peninsula prone to flooding.

Climate Central

This swath of downtown San Francisco includes offices for LinkedIn, Business Insider, and Salesforce.

Google Earth/Climate CentralThe latest version of Google Earth does not show Salesforce’s behemoth new building.

They’d be too close to the waterfront to avoid flooding.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Farther south in Silicon Valley, Facebook’s campus dazzles in Menlo Park.

Google Earth/Climate Central

As if the social media giant didn’t have enough problems on its hands already, its headquarters could someday be underwater.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Apple’s new campus (the big ring) in Cupertino, California, would stay high and dry.

Google Earth

San Francisco International Airport serves more than 50 million travellers every year.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: San Francisco International Airport


In 2100, people might have better luck flying into Las Vegas.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Charleston, South Carolina, already has a flooding problem. It’s flat and has a low elevation, making it vulnerable to extreme flooding and storm surges.

Google Earth/Climate Central

In 2100, you might need a boat to reach the city’s center.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Shopping at the Charleston City Market is a must for tourists visiting the area.

Google Earth/Climate Central

But the long row of red-roofed buildings could be submerged by 2100.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Los Angeles, which has the third-highest elevation among major US cities, might fare better.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: US Geological Survey


The projections show the Pacific Ocean climbing up the boardwalk, but that’s about it.

Google Earth/Climate Central

New Orleans is no stranger to the problems that come with sea-level rise.

Google Earth/Climate Central

By 2100, the Big Easy could disappear underwater. An estimated 500,000 people could have to leave the area in the next century to stay aboveground.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: NOLA.com


After flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina destroyed numerous homes in the New Orleans area in 2005, tens of thousands of people sought refuge at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Google Earth/Climate Central

But the arena might not survive extreme sea-level rise.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Boston is the only state capital in the continental US that borders an ocean. Extreme sea-level rise could cause the Charles River to overflow and spill onto city streets.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Here’s what Boston could look like in 2100. Massachusetts General Hospital might have to be abandoned, while the Public Garden would be soaked.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Many of the country’s top universities sit along Boston’s Charles River.

Google Earth/Climate Central

The education world could say goodbye to Harvard Business School, Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Northeastern University, among others.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Trump has spent a decent part of his presidency in Palm Beach, Florida.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: Business Insider


He owns the Mar-a-Lago luxury resort and club, better known as the Winter White House.

Google Earth/Climate Central

If sea levels rose by as much as 12 feet, Mar-a-Lago would not fare well.

Google Earth/Climate Central

But Trump will be out of office by the time anything like that could happen.

Google Earth/Climate Central

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