Hey, Seattle! Time to Play “Who Drowns First?”

by on March 30, 2012

(Image from Climate Central's Surging Seas. Designed by Stamen)

Salon has a profile of ousted Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, and his concerns about his country vanishing beneath global-warming-fed waves, but before you read it, you might want to stop in at Climate Central’s Surging Seas and take a look at how Washington fares. This kind of animation has been done before, but this one is very interactive and granular and–*gurglegurgle–provides access to plans for our new waterworld.

The view above is of the near term–so long, SoDo!–but it gets very exciting around around 2100, when Lake Washington joins once again with Puget Sound. That requires a rise of about nine feet. Hard to credit? Their summary notes that: “Global warming has raised sea level about eight inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating.”

The UW’s Peter Ward has already put you on notice that all it will really take is six feet, though, before things get crazy due to the loss of floodplain deltas, and the food they provide. Stock up on rice now.

The question remains, of course, as to how acidified the ocean will be when it starts pouring in your window. To determine this, Washington has created an Ocean Acidification Panel, although they are not in charge of acidifying anything, hopefully the reverse. We’ve discussed this before–it doesn’t mean the ocean will eat right through you, unless your exoskeleton is formed from carbonate. But it does make anyone in the shellfish industry very nervous. Sightline explains:

In a nutshell, excess carbon dioxide causes oceans to become more acidic, and also removes key building blocks that thousands of species need to build shells and skeletons. This carbon-dioxide-rich water has been linked to massive die-offs in Northwest oyster hatcheries.

2 thoughts on “Hey, Seattle! Time to Play “Who Drowns First?”

  1. So… In a hundred years, I’ll have water front property? Can I accelerate this by smoking cigars?