New York should be flooded with concern about global warming.
Scientists at NASA are using simulation technology from their Jet Propulsion Lab to predict what cities the ice caps will affect when they melt. Using New York, London, and a few other port cities as examples, the simulation shows which Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets will affect 293 port cities across the globe over the course of the next century.
According to the demo, which was also published in the journal Science Advances, New York will be most affected by the ice on the northeastern half of Greenland. The tilt of the Earth as it spins around the sun shifts the water from the melting caps; so the water doesn’t trickle straight down. This means that, though the icy country is pretty far away from New York, the water from Greenland will affect New York more than other, closer, coastal cities.
In other parts of the world, London will be most affected by melting in northeastern Greenland and Sydney will be submerged by Antarctic ice that is actually farther away from Australia than the closer ice sheets.
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What Earth might look like in 100 years
What Earth might look like in 100 years
"I think the 1.5-degree [2.7-degree F] target is out of reach as a long-term goal," Schmidt said. He estimated that we will blow past that by about 2030.
(Photo via REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)
But Schmidt is more optimistic about keeping temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees F, or 2 degrees C. That's the increase the UN hopes to avoid.
(Photo via REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)
Let's assume that we land somewhere between those two targets. At the end of this century, we'd be looking at a world that is on average about 3 degrees Fahrenheit above where we are now.
But average surface temperature alone doesn't paint a full picture. Temperature anomalies — how much the temperature of a given area deviates from what would be "normal" in that region — will swing wildly.
In the summer of 2012, 97% of the Greenland Ice Sheet's surface started to melt. That's typically a once-in-a-century occurrence, but we could see extreme surface melt like that every six years by end of the century.
(Photo credit should read RAYMOND ROIG/AFP/Getty Images)
Without controlling our emissions (a business-as-usual scenario), the tropics would stay at unusually hot temperatures all summer long. In the temperate zones, 30% or more of the days would have temperatures that we currently consider unusual.
Even a little bit of warming will likely strain water resources. In a 2013 paper, scientists projected that the world will start to see more intense droughts more often. Left unchecked, climate change may cause severe drought across 40% of all land — double what it is today.
And then there's the weather. If the extreme El Niño event of 2015-2016 was any indication, we're in for more natural disasters — storm surges, wildfires, and heat waves are on the menu for 2070 and beyond.
Right now, humanity is standing on a precipice. If we ignore the warning signs, we could end up with what Schmidt envisions as a "vastly different planet" — roughly as different as our current climate is from the most recent ice age.
(Photo credit Feature China / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Or we can innovate. Many best-case scenarios assume we'll reach negative emissions by 2100 — that is, absorb more than we emit through carbon-capture technology.
Schmidt says the Earth in 2100 will be somewhere between "a little bit warmer than today and a lot warmer than today." On a planet-wide scale, that difference could mean millions of lives saved, or not.
(Photo credit NASA / SPL / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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The project is meant to be used by coastal planners who can help these cities prepare for sea level rises as global warming increases the risk of coastal flooding. The calculations are adjustable for changing conditions.
“As cities and countries attempt to build plans to mitigate flooding, they have to be thinking about 100 years in the future and they want to assess risk in the same way that insurance companies do," senior scientist Dr. Erik Ivins told the BBC.
Previous NASA research has said that if Antarctic ice in the western portion of the continent were to melt, the world’s sea levels would rise four feet across the globe, but the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. would see rises of more than triple that estimate.
A time-lapse video also released by NASA released this week shows how Earth has changed over the last two decades, showing how much ice in Northern Europe and Canada has receded over the past 20 years.