Disturbing before-and-after images show how major Wall Street banks could be flooded by 2100

Climate Central/ Google EarthNew York City’s Financial District is at serious risk of flooding.

The world’s oceans are rapidly rising as waters warm and ice sheets melt.

Coastal cities like New York – much of which lies on an island barely above sea level – are at serious risk of flooding.

Research group Climate Central has created a plug-in for Google Earth that illustrates how catastrophic an “extreme” sea-level rise scenario projected for the year 2100 would be, based on data in a 2017 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).

The group’s estimates are based on the worst-case scenario forecasting from NOAA’s data, and it puts into perspective how dangerous the situation could get for the lowest-lying New York City neighbourhoods.

The Financial District – the birthplace of New York City and home to a number of landmarks, institutions, Wall Street banks, and tech companies – will be particularly hard-hit.

We’ve compiled Climate Central’s data into a series of maps to see which of the world’s largest financial institutions could be inundated if climate change continues unabated.

Goldman Sachs, one of the most powerful of all the banks, could be completely flooded. The same goes for Citigroup and Merrill Lynch. Banks that have decamped to Midtown offices in recent years will be relatively unscathed.

Check out the maps below:


Let’s start off with an overview of Manhattan. Here’s what the island looks like today.

Google Earth

According to Climate Central’s data, huge swaths of the most densely-populated areas of the city will be flooded by 2100 in the worst case scenario.

Climate Central/Google Earth

Here’s lower Manhattan today, which includes some of the city’s most densely populated areas.

Google Earth

Zooming in on lower Manhattan, you can see how drastic the flooding could be.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

Midtown, however, will be relatively unscathed.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

In the Financial District, one of New York City’s beating hearts, you can clearly see how bad the problem will get. The whole neighbourhood could go under.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

It’s a far cry from what it looks like today.

Google Earth

Here’s One World Trade, one of New York’s landmarks.

Google Earth

By 2100, its bottom floors could be flooded.

Climate Central/Google Earth

Right next to One World Trade is Goldman Sachs’ global headquarters, along with Merrill Lynch and American Express.

Google Earth

Goldman may want to eventually follow JP Morgan — which was previously on Wall Street proper — and the other big banks to Midtown, based on this model.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

It’s not looking great for Merrill Lynch, either.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

Same goes for American Express, which won’t fare so well with rising sea levels.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

Moving uptown, we arrive at Citigroup.

Google Earth

Citigroup’s head office and trading floor are about to get wet.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

On the East side, there’s Deutsche Bank’s New York offices.

Google Earth

It might become prime, beachfront real estate by 2100.

Google Earth/Climate Central

Let’s zoom in a little further on another New York City landmark: The New York Stock Exchange.

Google Earth

The NYSE is set become an island under Climate Central’s projections.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

Right nearby the stock exchange, the New York Federal Reserve holds nearly $US200 billion in underground vaults.

Google Earth

All those bills might need to be moved by 2100.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

While not technically a bank, AIG Global’s offices are in the neighbourhood as well.

Google Earth

It looks like their office may get inundated as well by 2100.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

Lest we get too cocky, here are Business Insider’s new offices in the shadow of One World Trade.

Google Earth

It looks like we’ll just miss the worst of it.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

Sea level rise won’t only impact lower Manhattan — tech companies in Brooklyn are set to be flooded, too. Here’s Kickstarter’s office in Greenpoint.

Google Earth

By 2100, a huge portion of Greenpoint could be underwater.

Climate Central/Google Earth

Here’s Squarespace over in Manhattan’s low-lying West Village.

Google Earth

It won’t be spared in Climate Central’s worst case scenario prediction.

Climate Central/ Google Earth

If you want to read more about how cities are preparing for sea level rise, check out Business Insider’s Saving Our World series.

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