Our vast sheets of ice are undergoing rapid changes, whether in the north or south. All the ice in the world has enough water to raise sea levels up to 230 feet. What would all the continents look like if all the ice melted and the water began crashing into human civilization?
The East Coast would vanish and parts of California would become islands or massive bays. In the east, areas like Sandy Hook in New Jersey and Norfolk in Virgina would cease to exist. That's not to say anything about Florida, which disappears entirely.
3. A Close up On How Those Cities Look Like Post-Melt
On the west coast, LAX and Disneyland would have to be rebuilt miles away once the city submerges under 80 meters, or 260 feet, of water. It expands beyond the United States as well — Montreal would be reduced to islands after the sea levels rise to 40 meters or 130 feet. Vancouver and Seattle would become clusters of islands as well.
Compared to other continents, Africa would not be hit as hard by the rising sea levels, except for a flooded Cairo due to the Mediterranean. The danger is how their interior environment is affected by the rising temperatures, for example in how red knot birds will feel the effects in their migration from Europe to their winter areas in Africa. With no ice, they might go extinct, and their lack of presence in Africa would be felt.
Just three feet of added sea level would sink 14,000 square feet of the Indian subcontinent — Mumbai, Calcutta and Bangladesh would be gone. Other submerged cities includeShanghai, Beijing, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong. Japan's fate would be catastrophic, as the rate of sea level wiould be much higher than the global average.
The Mediterranean Sea would spill into two eastern seas — the Caspian and Black — that would wipe out Odessa and Istanbul. Venice, which already has problems with floods, will finally sink into the ocean. In the north Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm would also disappear.
The great city of London would be doomed in the global melt. A 40-meter rise makes east, west and central London into a huge bay. The south and north would be half-submerged, making it a perfect location for a ferry system.
Four out of five Australians would have to leave their homes due to the flooding that comes from the ice melting. Some could move inside the islands created after the Lake Eyre basin becomes an inland sea. That's possible because the basin would be fifteen meters below sea level.
The distinguishing detail about this part of the former Western Antarctic Sheet is what's underneath. The bottom is below sea level, and current researchers say the sheet will collapse within the century. In the sped-up scenario created by global ice melting, all that is visible of western Antarctica are islands.
Unlike its western counterpart, more of the Antarctic landmass would remain on this side. The eastern ice sheet has survived some of the highest temperatures in earth's history. The speed it is melting at the moment shows the potential of reaching a point of no return, however.
This nightmare scenario might seem like something that no one should pay attention to, but these theoretical mass floods are just part of what will happen. The arctic melt alone would change weather patterns. Researchers, who are sure of a growing rate of ice melting everywhere, also have to look at the connection between the rising temperatures in the ocean.
13. Let The Science Guy Help You Understand The Big Melt
So while we don't know exactly how the global ice will actually melt away, it's worth knowing that it is melting and that the water is getting warmer. If you want a simpler explanation, look no further than the great Bill Nye in this video. He explains this scenario in a less catastrophic mood, with a few added facts.