Sea Level Maps

So I’ve been reading the sci-fi novel Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, the sequel to Red Mars. A plot spoiler follows, so if you plan on reading Green Mars, do not read this


So, the novel mostly has to do with the continuing terraforming of Mars. I made an earlier post displaying one man’s imagery of a potential Living Mars, that I discovered while reading the first book in the series. Making that imagery a reality is really what the second book in the Mars series is all about. The terraformers have greatly increased the atmospheric pressure, have space based mirrors to increase the sunlight, and have ever-more plants growing. But a lot of the book has to do with pulling water from underground aquifers to create frozen seas that should melt as the atmosphere continues to thicken and the martian global warming continues.

Meanwhile things on Earth have gotten bad for a lot of reasons I won’t go into. But one of the catastrophic problems that occurs near the end of the book has to do with Earth’s own global warming and sea levels. Basically the ice “rivers” that exist under the multiple-kilometer deep ice sheets in antarctica have continued to grow, and now a large antarctic volcano buried under the ice begins a massive eruption that causes all the ice over the western half of Antarctica to break up and start to flow into the ocean. The results are that global sea levels rapidly begin to rise, (like the worst high tide ever,) to eventually 6 meters (20 feet) higher than their normal levels.

The novel describes some of the results of this, and it got me curious if I might be able to find some maps or images showing a “Flooded Earth”. Well, I found this great Flood Maps website that uses an interactive Google Maps interface to display overlays of various sea level increases.

Needless to say a 6 meter increase in global sea levels would be devastating and effect a huge percentage of the world’s population. Here are just some of the horrible highlights.

Northern California: San Francisco fares fairly well, but the area as a whole does not. All around the bay huge urban areas are flooded. But worse the flooding of the bays north of San Francisco Bay and moves its way upstream into the central valley of California and submerges huge portions of the Sacramento Valley, from south of Stockton to well north of Sacramento.


Southern Tip of Florida: The Florida Keys are mostly gone. On the east coast, Miami fares better than Fort Myers on the west coast, which is completely inundated. And the huge Everglades becomes a vast bay stretching all the way to Lake Okeechobee. Also notice that the Bahamas are also pretty much completely flooded.

Other significantly flooded area of the United States is, of course, the Gulf Coast line, from New Orleans to well west of Houston. On the East Coast, New York City fares better than one might think, but the Boston area is inundated. The shores of the Potomac River now run through the parking lots of the Pentagon on one side, and into the South Lawn of the White House on the other.

But the U.S. is well off compared to some. And as you move into Europe, and even worse, Asia, the massive populations that would be affected in such an event is mind-boggling.

The dikes of the Netherlands still stand, but the flooding has flanked them, pouring in from the coasts of Germany and Belgium to basically flood most of the country. Bits of the island of Venice, Italy still remain above water, but the coastline of Italy to the north and west are now much, much farther away.

In the Persian Gulf, a big chunk of Iraq along the Tigris and Euphrates would be submerged. The massive building projects in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates are washed away. The reclaimed land around the island of Bahrain is similarly flooded along with much of the original island. Just to the east, the massive oil tanker ports along Saudi Arabia’s west coast are all under water.

As mentioned in Asia it is worse simply because of the massive urban and agricultural areas that are flooded. All that’s left of Bangkok, Thailand is a little island (probably the tops of some buildings) in a new massive bay that stretches nearly a 100 km farther inland. In South Vietnam, everything is underwater including Ho Chi Minh City. In North Vietnam, Hanoi is now a coastal city, with parts of it actually under the waves. In China the river estuaries around Hong Kong and Macau now are a massive bay reaching well north into China. Massive urban areas on China’s eastern coast are similarly effected.

And this is “just” with a 6 meter increase in sea levels. The website lets you set the sea level all the way up to sixty meters if you want to. Not sure what it would take to cause that kind of increase… The complete melting of all the world’s ice you would think. Anyway, I thought the flood website was interesting, if a little scary.

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