Despite the fact that “extreme weather events” promised by climate change are rapidly becoming a thing of today, as opposed to the short- or long-term future, the idea that the climate is changing continues to be an abstract, theoretical, or even unbelievable concept for many people.
A recent project, created by the storage company StorageFront in collaboration with a researcher from the nonprofit Climate Central, attempts to change that by visualizing what American cities will look like once ocean levels rise the way scientists predict they will–up to 25 feet in coming centuries. Images include those of the Statue of Liberty emerging from the water like the birth of Venus, her surrounding park almost completely flooded; Miami’s South Beach, where palm trees are converted into aquatic organisms; and the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. with its columns ankle-deep in water.
The project, according to its creator Nickolay Lamm was done as a follow up to a similar visualization by the New York Times in November, which showed rising tides changing the geography of cities, but not what would happen to those cities’ iconic landscapes and architecture. The projections take into account the difference between water levels at low or high tide. In the future, will the Jefferson Memorial only be open at low tide? Will some of our favorite coastal architecture disappear altogether? We don’t know for sure what will happen, but images like these help us think about an uncertain future.