PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Portions of the Delaware Valley are vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by climate change.
A new tool and interactive map is painting a sobering picture of what parts of Philadelphia and surrounding counties could look like in the year 2100, if sea levels continue to rise.
Google Earth is now putting research findings on sea level rise in 3-D with Climate Central’s Surging Seas: Extreme Scenario 2100 overlay.
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Climate Central meteorologist Sean Sublette says this tool can predict areas that are in jeopardy.
“We can see which areas are the most vulnerable regarding whether it’s a national park, whether it is somebody’s house, whether it’s some infrastructure as the seas rise,” said Sublette.
According to Climate Central, the global sea level has risen 8 inches since 1880.
Here in Philadelphia, it has risen about 6 inches since the 1980s.
Among the causes, a warming ocean, causing water to expand, shrinking ice due to warming air and water temperatures and sinking land.
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As a worst-case scenario, the surging seas map shows some of Philadelphia’s major landmarks like FDR Park and the airport would be underwater by the year 2100.
“You’re going to have more frequent flooding taking shape, several areas will be under recurrent flooding,” said Sublette.
Here’s the good news: the City of Philadelphia is taking steps to mitigate the causes of climate change.
By the year 2030, the city plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and cut energy use by 20 percent, among other measures.
While at least some future sea level rise is unavoidable, there are steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint, flood risk and sea level impacts.
Click here for steps on how to reduce your carbon footprint.