7 major US cities could be underwater within 80 years — here are the disturbing ‘after’ images

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The former Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
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Jessica Kourkounis/Getty

If the worst climate-change predictions come true, hundreds of coastal US towns and cities – from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Galveston, Texas – could disappear underwater by 2100.

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Agency released a report in January that hinted at the possibility of an “extreme” sea-level-rise scenario that could cause chronic flooding to affect as many as 670 coastal communities. That scenario is considered unlikely but possible.

The 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 are seven US towns and cities that could go underwater in your children’s lifetime.


Atlantic City has gone from a bustling tourist hub to a ghost town in recent years.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

How Atlantic City went from a bustling tourist hub to a ghost town »


Extreme sea level rise could wash away the New Jersey tourist attraction entirely.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

The Taj Mahal casino — built by President Donald Trump for $1.2 billion in 1990 — overlooks the boardwalk and beaches. It sold earlier this year for four cents on the dollar.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: Los Angeles Times


There are plans to reopen the Taj Mahal in 2018, though polar melting, carbon emissions, and ice-sheet collapses could cause flooding to destroy the tower within the century.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: Los Angeles Times


New Orleans is no stranger to chronic flooding and storm surges.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

An estimated 500,000 people will need to evacuate The Big Easy within the century.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: NOLA.com


After flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina destroyed 80% of homes in the New Orleans area, tens of thousands of people sought refuge at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

But the arena used as a “shelter of last resort” might not survive extreme sea level rise.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Galveston, Texas, is a resort city located off the Texas Gulf coast. It relies on tourism.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

32 miles of beaches, restaurants, hotels, and shopping could disappear under water.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Moody Gardens and its iconic pyramidal structures have long been a Galveston Island fixture. The aquarium and nature park welcome two million visitors per year.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

The marine life exhibits could flood in your children’s lifetime.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

This is what Miami Beach looks like today.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

In the year 2100, you might not even see the island while flying overhead.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Climate Central’s plug-in for Google Earth shows a sea-level rise of 10 to 12 feet, which would cause the Atlantic Ocean to wash over Miami and the Miami River to overflow.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Everyone who lives in Miami would need to evacuate long before that happened.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

In Miami-Dade County, 1.6 million square feet of office space and 1.8 million square feet of retail space was under construction in the second quarter of 2016, the BBC reported.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Source: BBC


Those high-rises could have a different kind of ocean view by the end of the century.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Charleston, South Carolina, already has a flooding problem. The Southern city is flat and at low elevation, which makes it vulnerable to extreme flooding and storm surges.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

In the year 2100, you might need a boat to reach the city’s center.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Shopping at the Charleston City Market is a must-do for tourists visiting the area.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

But the long row of red-roofed buildings could be submerged by 2100.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

Virginia Beach lies where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

It could potentially be swallowed up by both bodies of water.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

The three-mile boardwalk is a top tourist destination during the summer.

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Google Earth/Climate Central

We suggest you visit while you still can.

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Google Earth/Climate Central