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Striking Visions Of Our Flooded Future

These renderings of what the Statue of Liberty and the Jefferson Memorial will look like when sea levels rise give you an idea of how the world will change once the Arctic ice melts.

  • <p>The Jefferson Memorial now.</p>
  • <p>With rising waters.</p>
  • <p>Still rising.</p>
  • <p>And here with 25 feet of sea level rise.</p>
  • <p>These maps show the progression of the water rise in Washington, D.C.</p>
  • <p>The Statue of Liberty now.</p>
  • <p>Watch the water rising.</p>
  • <p>And still rising.</p>
  • <p>Liberty Island is a lot smaller now.</p>
  • <p>Here are New York’s maps.</p>
  • <p>Miami Beach is lovely this time of year.</p>
  • <p>What happens if sea levels rise?</p>
  • <p>More of a swamp than a beach.</p>
  • <p>Look at those underwater palm trees.</p>
  • <p>Miami’s new maps are pretty striking.</p>
  • <p>The whole city is underwater.</p>
  • 01 /22

    The Jefferson Memorial now.

  • 02 /22

    With rising waters.

  • 03 /22

    Still rising.

  • 04 /22

    And here with 25 feet of sea level rise.

  • 05 /22

    These maps show the progression of the water rise in Washington, D.C.

  • 06 /22
  • 07 /22
  • 08 /22
  • 09 /22

    The Statue of Liberty now.

  • 10 /22

    Watch the water rising.

  • 11 /22

    And still rising.

  • 12 /22

    Liberty Island is a lot smaller now.

  • 13 /22

    Here are New York’s maps.

  • 14 /22
  • 15 /22
  • 16 /22
  • 17 /22

    Miami Beach is lovely this time of year.

  • 18 /22

    What happens if sea levels rise?

  • 19 /22

    More of a swamp than a beach.

  • 20 /22

    Look at those underwater palm trees.

  • 21 /22

    Miami’s new maps are pretty striking.

  • 22 /22

    The whole city is underwater.

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.