NASA says New York will flood when the ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica melt

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
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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.

(Photo via NASA)

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.

Source: Business Insider

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For example, the temperature in the Arctic Circle soared above freezing for one day in 2016 — that's extraordinarily hot for the arctic. Those types of abnormalities will start happening a lot more.

Source: Washington Post

(Photo via REUTERS/Bob Strong)

That means years like 2016, which had the lowest sea-ice extent on record, will become more common. Summers in Greenland could become ice-free by 2050.

Source: Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems

(Photo via NASA Goddard Flickr)

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.

Source: Climate CentralNational Snow & Ice Data Center

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

On the bright side, ice in Antarctica will remain relatively stable, making minimal contributions to sea-level rise.

Source: Nature

(Photo credit Massimo Rumi / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

However, unexpected ice shelf collapses could surprise researchers with extra sea-level rise.

Source: Business Insider

(Photo by John Sonntag/IceBridge/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Even in our best-case scenarios, oceans are on track to rise 2 to 3 feet by 2100. That could displace up to 4 million people.

Source: NASATime

(Photo via REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain)

Oceans absorb about one third of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing them to warm and become more acidic. Rising temperatures will therefore cause oceans to acidify more around the globe.

Source: International Geosphere-Biosphere Program

(Photo via Getty Images)

In the tropics, that means nearly all coral reef habitats could be devastated. Under our best-case scenario, half of all tropical coral reefs are threatened.

Source: International Geosphere-Biosphere Program

(Photo by: Camesasca Davide/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

And even if we curb emissions, summers in the tropics could see a 50% increase their extreme-heat days by 2050. Farther north, 10% to 20% of the days in a year will be hotter.

Source: Environmental Research Letters

(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.

Source: Environmental Research Letters

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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.

Source: PNAS

(Photo credit MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

Source: Environment360

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

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.

Source: The Guardian

(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

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)

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.

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