(NEXSTAR) – Residents of the northeastern U.S. saw firsthand this summer the devastation flooding can cause in a community. Unfortunately, scientists predict flooding will only become more common as the years go on.
A map created by Climate Central, an organization of scientists and journalists focused on studying the impacts of climate change, shows what the future may hold for coastal communities as sea level rises.
In the first map (below), we set the projections to include sea level rise and typical annual flooding (weather that can be expected every year). We set the map to include what would happen with “unchecked pollution” between now and 2050. That setting most closely matches the current path we’re on, Climate Central said.
For luck, we set the bar to “medium,” which reflects the middle range of possibilities predicted by scientists.
While Manhattan is largely spared under these moderate conditions, there’s substantial sea level rise in nearby Hudson and Bergen counties in New Jersey.
Explore the interactive map below to zoom in on impacts around the country. You can search your city in the top toolbar. You can also tap or click the gear icon near the top right to adjust the projection type, from best-case scenarios to worst-case scenarios.
What if we don’t get so lucky? The map below includes a worst-case scenario of sorts: unchecked pollution, bad luck, plus a historically bad flood year.
This scenario puts Newark Airport, Flushing Meadows and a Brooklyn IKEA store underwater.
The map above shows where water would rise under major flood conditions, such as the disastrous recent flooding in the Northeast.
While touring damage, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Vermont has endured two storms that would be called “once-in-a-century” events in the span of just 12 years.
“We can’t go into the future requiring communities to put everything back exactly the way it was if a 100-year flood is about to become an annual event,” he said.
As the climate continues to warm, scientists predict flooding will become more common around the world. That’s because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which results in storms dumping more precipitation that can have deadly outcomes.
For every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) the atmosphere warms, it holds approximately 7% more moisture. According to NASA, the average global temperature has increased by at least 1.1 degrees Celsius (1.9 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1880.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.