Science in the Fleet: What would your hometown look like with 80 meters Sea Level Rise

UPDATE: These posts, and the hashtag are getting a lot of attention, so I’d like to reiterate, Caveat Tweetor (twitter beware) — these models are being generated on the fly as request come in. They are not validated and there are many variables that influence sea level rise which are not taken into account. This is a fun way to visualize potential sea level rise but it would be inadvisable to use it for real estate speculation. 

The central conceit in the world of Fleet–my dystopian maritime science fiction serial adventure–is that sea level has risen 80 meters, an extreme maximum projection under global climate change prediction (INSERT LINK TO USGS DATA HERE AFTER SHUTDOWN ENDS – UPDATE: Oh, neat, we have a federal government again. Here’s the source). Since 80 meters is pretty hard to visualize, I turned to Google Earth to help me simulate what our world would look like under those conditions, starting with my new residence in San Francisco:


San Francisco, 80 meters

Oh, but we’re not done yet.

Washington, DC, 80 meters

Washington, DC, 80 meters

Baltimore, 80 meters

Baltimore, 80 meters

New York, 80 meters

New York, 80 meters

Let’s zoom out a bit:

Bad News, Miami, 80 meters

Bad News, Miami, 80 meters

Good thing you outlawed sea level rise, North Carolina, 80 meters

Good thing you outlawed sea level rise, North Carolina, 80 meters

A view from the London Eye. 80 meters

A view from the London Eye. 80 meters

Sydney. Wet. 80 meters

Sydney. Wet. 80 meters

Port Moresby, Papue New Guinea. 80 meters

Port Moresby, Papue New Guinea. 80 meters

And I couldn’t resist my Planet of the Apes image!

Statue of Liberty, 80 meters

Statue of Liberty, 80 meters

Check out Fleet: The Reach and Fleet: Wide Open to experience a world in which people live with 80 meters of sea level rise.


  1. Pascale · October 16, 2013

    Pretty certain OKC will remain above the seas, but we will be closer to the beach…

  2. Michael Slater · October 16, 2013

    What about inland cities near lakes and rivers–St Louis, Chicago, Cleveland….?Thanks for doing this.

  3. Bob Zonis · October 16, 2013

    Livingston, NJ?

  4. pcawdron · October 16, 2013

    fascinating stuff… you start this post with the phrase, “The central conceit in the world of fleet…” but I think you mean concept

    • Andrew David Thaler · October 16, 2013

      Thanks! Central conceit is the correct term.

      In drama and other art forms, the central conceit of a work of fiction is the underlying fictitious assumption which must be accepted by the audience with suspension of disbelief so the plot may be seen as plausible.

      I’m definitely going to have to take a look at Xenophobia.

  5. ryanstroup · October 17, 2013

    How do you get Google Earth water to be blue? My water is grey.

    • Andrew David Thaler · October 17, 2013

      It’s not actually water, it’s a blue, semi-transparent polygon overlaid on the Google Earth globe.

  6. Tim Dewey · October 17, 2013

    As I don’t have a twitter account, could you do Jacksonville, Florida, please

  7. UmYeah · October 17, 2013

    Denver? Looking forward to ocean front property one day without having to move!

  8. Charlene · October 17, 2013

    What about the cities along the Ohio river? Louisville and Cincinnati/Covington?

  9. Laura Arns · October 17, 2013

    Seattle, WA is probably doomed. Also, Langley AF base should probably consider turning into a Navy one. How many meters required?

  10. Jesse · October 17, 2013

    “What about inland cities near lakes and rivers–St Louis, Chicago, Cleveland”

    Just remember that these cities would be unaffected, they are inland and above sea level elevation. Even all Great Lakes cities, will not see any rise as they’re at ~600′.

    Otherwise, very interesting

  11. Rebecca Stefoff · October 17, 2013

    Cool images, and I’m going to check out your serial. What’s your time frame for the 80-meter rise?

    • Andrew David Thaler · October 17, 2013

      The book is set 250ish years in the future. 80 meters is probably way higher than what we’ll actually see.

  12. Cole Bennett · October 17, 2013

    Hey, kudos on the exposure! A couple years back I wrote a short story about the world after it rains for five straight years. That was how I got Denver underwater. It involved beaucoup research for such a short read (alien aquaforming using hydrogen from the sun, rainfall calculations, spherical volumes, etc.), and I wasn’t happy until I could say for sure exactly what was underwater and what wasn’t (from camps at the foot of Mt. Zion, survivors make foraging salvos 9 miles out to the top floors of Wells Fargo, Qwest, and Republic Plaza). So I found the .kml, tweaked it for the level I wanted, and voila. Just had to share, thought you might find it interesting. Good luck with the self-publishing!

    The Drowning World

  13. Alex · October 18, 2013

    Could you do Tokyo? Osaka? Thank you!

  14. Kilkee · October 18, 2013

    Ok, how about Portland, Me? We’re obviously right on the coast, but I wonder how far back toward the mountains I need to flee? Thanks.

  15. Tris Stock · October 18, 2013

    Perhaps you could write a post explaining how you add these polygons to Google Earth. I wouldn’t know where to start.

  16. Scott Manhart · October 18, 2013

    Now lets take this a do something practical. Lets pull 122 meters out of the oceans so people can see what he coastlines looked like at the peak of the last ice age.

  17. S.Burnett · October 18, 2013

    Good images. How about Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia on the Puget Sound?

  18. Nikola Biondic · October 22, 2013

    Can you do Zagreb, Croatia?

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