Saturday, May 22, 2010

What would the earth's land mass look like if the Oceans rose 20 feet worldwide?

Is there anyone living who is mathmatically savvy enough to figure out what the earth's land mass would look like if the Oceans rose twenty feet globally?

What would the earth's land mass look like if the Oceans rose 20 feet worldwide?
One does not need to be mathematically savvy to figure this out, just have access to the right geographical information. Fortunately for you, I created a series of maps of this subject for a colleague at Yale University a couple of years ago.

On a global scale, a rise of 20 meters (which is about 66 feet, about 3 times the change you specified) in sea level would not change the shorelines of the continents very much.

Unfortunately, since a majority of the world's population lives along the coast, this is still a big problem.

For the United States, I have a map with a sea level rise of 6 meters (just a bit less than 20 feet). On the west coast the largest change is that San Francisco Bay would extend into the Central Valley to Sacramento. Along the Gulf of Mexico, the shoreline would move inland as far as Houston, and into central Louisiana. Southern Florida south of about Fort Myers and Palm Beach would be underwater. Along the east coast, the shoreline would move inland from 0 to 50 miles (or so), the largest distance being in eastern North Carolina and the smallest distance in New England.

If there was a way to post the maps on here, I would.
Reply:You'd see a little bit of peripheral land loss and formation of bays up some river systems. 20 feet isn't a whole lot on a global scale.

There's a googleearth macro you can load that allows you to see how the earth would look with various sea level rises. You need to be zoomed in relatively locally for it to work properly though, so you never get the global view.

You can see what would happen by looking at topo maps (there are several places on the net you can see topos for free) and looking at the first contours above sea level to see what effect incremental sea rise would make.

Even the maximum 250 foot rise would not be globally huge, although it definitely would change things a lot along the coasts. Where I live would go back under water again, which I suppose is better than the kilometer of ice that was here before the ocean rose to cover it for a couple thousand years.

there is an example of what florida would look like on this page. the red is now water, the pink means that those areas have dense populations, but would be submerged.
Reply:You wouldn't notice it from space. Florida would look different.
Reply:a bit smaller: would lose a few atolls and estuaries but not serious (unless you live on an atoll!)

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