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Imagining The Submerged California Coast After The Sea Level Rises

Artist and researcher Nickolay Lam has created visions of Boston’s Back Bay inundated, a sunken Statue of Liberty, and the Thomas Jefferson memorial submerged. He began creating images of flooded cities with real sea level rise projections earlier this year–and now he has taken on the California coast.

“This is science, not science fiction or any kind of fantasy movie,” Lamm says. “I was surprised at how many people were calling it some political agenda and how this is a bunch of baloney.”

In order to create the illustrations, which look at sea level rise centuries from now, Lamm used projections sourced from Climate Central, along with topographical maps. He used a quick calculation that took into account land elevation, tide, and sea level rise, and applied the findings to stock photos on StorageFront.com.


The first version of Lamm’s chosen sites show no sea level rise, but the following image shows a five-foot increase in the next 100 to 300 years, 12 feet in 2300, and 25 feet in the centuries following. That’s why the tops of the trees by the Venice Beach boardwalk are completely underwater by the third image.

“Sea level rise seems so far off in the future that people either don’t care about it or don’t believe that it will happen,” Lamm tells Co.Exist. “By illustrating what sea level rise will look like in real life, I’m hoping to make our rising oceans a bigger issue on people’s minds.”

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