• 02.06.17

Sea Levels Could Rise 8 Feet: See How That Will Drown Your City

These animated videos show the findings of a new report on sea level rise, so you can fully understand that Manhattan streets and Fenway Park might be underwater by 2070.

Sea Levels Could Rise 8 Feet: See How That Will Drown Your City

By the end of the century, global sea levels could rise as much as 8.2 feet, according to a recent study. A new series of animations from the Weather Channel maps out what an eight-foot rise would look like in cities along the East Coast, where the sea level is rising faster than some other parts of the world.


“What’s alarming about these images and this report is the extent to which sea level rising will have a direct impact on buildings and areas where people live, work, and go about their daily lives,” says Carl Parker, a meteorologist for the Weather Channel. AMHQ, the Weather Channel’s live morning show, is making global climate change a top priority for 2017.

Here’s New York City, with streets in lower Manhattan turning into canals.

This is Miami, where streets already routinely flood and the city is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to install pumps to protect drinking water from salty ocean water. By 2070, the city could lose $3.5 trillion in assets because of sea level rise.

In Boston, Fenway Park will be underwater, along with much of the rest of the city.

In Philadelphia, where half a billion dollars’ worth of property sits less than four feet above the high tide line, a 2016 report found that by the end of the century, floods could be as high as nine feet.

In Charleston, South Carolina, where Hurricane Matthew caused a 6.2-foot storm surge in 2016, the city is currently spending $154 million to upgrade a major drainage system.


Norfolk, Virginia, built on swampy land, is sinking, like many other parts of the East Coast, making sea level rise more of a threat. The city is working with Dutch engineers to try to prepare.

David Clark, the Weather Channel’s president, says that they’ve developed an audience that’s fascinated by meteorology and serving that audience means that any discussion of weather needs to include a discussion of climate change. “Viewers want more information about the weather and its drivers, and they want to understand what’s going on in the world around them,” he says. “It’s our obligation as scientists and supporters of science to explain these phenomena and help viewers understand how to prepare for the future.”

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.