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Scientists say Miami could cease to exist within our children's lifetimes

Business Insider logo Business Insider 7/13/2017 Melia Robinson
Miami Beach, Florida © Provided by Business Insider Miami Beach, Florida

Miami, a city of 430,000 people, could disappear within the century if the worst climate change predictions come true.

New York Magazine's David Wallace-Wells spoke with dozens of climatologists and researchers in related fields for an investigation on the outcomes of climate change if aggressive preventative action isn't taken. The results were not pretty.

"Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we'll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade," Wallace-Wells said.

Located at the mouth of the Miami River on the lower east coast of Florida, Miami averages at around 6 feet above sea level, according to CityData.com and NASA. South Florida as a whole anticipates two feet of sea level rise by 2060.

Within the century, a combination of polar melting, carbon emissions, and ice-sheet collapses could cause chronic flooding to wipe out Miami — and as many as 670 coastal communities, including Cambridge, Massachusetts; Oakland, California; St. Petersburg, Florida; and four of the five boroughs of New York City, according to National Geographic.

In January, a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency  hinted at the possibility of an "extreme" sea-level rise scenario that would support these predictions.

Research group Climate Central took the projections laid out in NOAA's report and created a plug-in for Google Earth that shows how catastrophic the damage would be if the flooding happened today. You can install it (directions here) and see anywhere in the US.

Here's what Miami might look like in the year 2100.

This is what Miami Beach looks like today.

This is what Miami Beach looks like today.
© Google Earth/Climate Central

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