Surging Seas Sea level rise analysis by Climate Central

Global Cities at Risk from Sea Level Rise: Google Earth Video

Maps are one way to visualize sea level rise. Google Earth lets us put our research findings in three dimensions.

See NYC, Rio and London | Antwerp, Belgium | Buenos Aires, Argentina | Dubai, UAE | Durban, South Africa | Hamburg, Germany | Hong Kong, China | London, UK | Melbourne, Australia | New York City, U.S.A. | Osaka, Japan | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Tokyo, Japan | Vancouver, Canada | Washington DC, U.S.A.

View videos with text in the follow languages: العربية (Arabic) | 中文简体 (Chinese Simplified) | 中文繁体 (Chinese Traditional) | English | Français (French) | Deutsch (German) | 日本語 (Japanese) | Português (Portuguese) | Русский (Russian) | Español (Spanish)

For this project we developed special KML layers corresponding precisely to different elevated global sea surfaces that could be locked in by different carbon emissions pathways, as projected in our recent scientific paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. The sea level rise required to reach these levels would most likely play out over centuries — but we set the path today.

Using our science-based KML layers, we have created fly-over videos for many coastal cities around the world where 3-D building data is currently available in Google Earth. We encourage you to watch the videos below — and to download the KML and make your own, helping us all to better understand and contrast what it means to continue carbon emissions on our current trend — the 4°C layer (7.2°F) — or limit warming to the current international goal — the 2°C layer (3.6°F). The KML file also provides 1.5°C (2.7°F) and 3°C (5.4°F) layers. For a limited time, you can also explore our Google Earth sea level layers interactively in your browser (plugin required).

Explore your own way in Google Earth, and share your videos back with us before Paris: email drizza@climatecentral.org. We plan to post our favorites — with credit, of course. Where do the stakes matter most to you?

Google Earth video editing: Ted Blanco. Google Earth virtual cinematography: Dan Dodson.

 

NYC, RIO AND LONDON

 

ANTWERP, BELGIUM


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BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA


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DUBAI, UAE


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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA


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HAMBURG, GERMANY


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HONG KONG, CHINA


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LONDON, UK


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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA


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NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A.


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OSAKA, JAPAN


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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL


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TOKYO, JAPAN


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VANCOUVER, CANADA


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WASHINGTON DC, U.S.A.


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Note: The sea level imagery in Google Earth shown above is based on overlays of peer-reviewed sea level projections against Google elevation data. Areas shown as affected may vary slightly from areas shown for the same layers at choices.climatecentral.org, which uses the same sea level projections overlaid against lidar-based elevation data within the U.S. and NASA satellite-based elevation data outside the U.S. Google ​also ​uses these sources​,​ but ​substitutes other sources in ​many areas, plus processes elevation data in ways that smooth local elevation profiles​. In areas where Google has acquired more accurate data, elevations will on average be lower, and thus more features will generally be shown as below​ projected sea level. NASA's satellite-based data does not differentiate bare earth from buildings or vegetation, commonly leading to overestimates of ground elevation, and underestimates of exposure to sea level rise.