Sea Level Rise and Coastal Cities

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Cities

Maps depict projected sea level rise in Miami, Florida, in 2030, 2060, and 2100, showing impacts on the dense urban development of South Florida’s largest metropolitan area.


6 - 12+


Geography, Social Studies, Civics

Join Jack Black as he meets with climate scientists at the University of Miami to analyze the possible effects of sea level rise on the dense urban environment of South Florida.

Combined with strong hurricanes and storm surges, sea level rise is even more threatening. In fact, maps with sea level projections for 2030, 2060, and 2100 show an increasingly uninhabitable Miami. Coastal cities all over the world are destined to face similar problems if people continue pumping carbon into the atmosphere at present levels.

Find more of this story in the “Gathering Storm” episode of the National Geographic Channel’s Years of Living Dangerously series.

Fast Fact

Some cities in the southern part of the U.S. state of Florida, including Miami Beach, are already working to stem the rising tides by installing extensive pump systems and raising roads further above sea level. But less affluent areas do not have the financial resources to fight the inevitable over the next century. Even if they did, no sea wall or other barrier would be able to keep water from bubbling up through limestone, South Florida’s porous bedrock, as the sea level rises.

Fast Fact

More than 25 million people in the United States live in areas at risk of coastal flooding, and these coastal areas are more than just places to live—they are key to our economy and way of life. Marine transportation of goods, offshore energy drilling, seafood cultivation, mineral extraction, tourism, and other coastal activities are integral to the nation's economy, generating more than half of the national gross domestic product (GDP). Coastal areas also include key military and naval bases.

Fast Fact

Ocean levels are projected to rise another one to four feet over this century. The precise number depends on the amount of global temperature rise and polar ice sheet melt.

Media Credits

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Anne Haywood, Mountain to Sea Education
Terrell Smith
Lockheed Martin
Funded by
National Geographic Channel
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

May 10, 2024

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