Forecasting Change: Visualizing the impacts if changes not made

More than 50% of population could be under water if trends continue

Change vs. no change at Liberty Park in New York City.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Every week in Forecasting Change we look at what is going on with our climate—how things are changing, what to expect and ways to make changes to protect our environment in the future.

This week we want to give you a vision of what can happen if changes are not made.

According to our media partners at Climate Central, rising temperatures in the next decade could put two-thirds of the world population underwater. This impact is what is projected to happen, until the year 2030, if we continue to warm on our current path. To better understand what a sea level rise by 3 degrees Celsius would look like, below shows a comparison between if we make sharp changes (left) versus if we continue along the same path (right).

Change vs. no change at Liberty Park in New York City.

And New York is not alone. Florida will also be inundated with water in our coastal zones.

The picture below shows the same comparison at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach.

Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach

This is what it could look like with the melting and rising sea levels over the next decades. Consider the Tampa area. Take a look at this picture of the city’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Change vs. No change

If the current rate of heating and melting of ice and polar regions continues, along with the heating of the atmosphere, the streets will become waterways around downtown. The lower levels of the church will be flooded.

This is not a temporary problem. Once the rise gets to this point, it will be a problem that cannot be fixed in our lifetime.

More flooding

While these dire projections have yet to come to fruition, we are dealing with the problem of more floods and higher tides.

The chart above shows an increase of what we call “concurrent floods,” or coastal flooding, which is caused by storms, astronomical tides or a combination of both. The occurrence of concurrent floods has posed a greater problem as sea levels rise.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.