Watch South Beach Disappear Under Sea Level Rise In Hypnotic New GIFs

Jun 20, 2013

Current climate change and sea level rise models indicate a very grim -- and water-logged -- future for South Florida and Miami in particular. But new imagery from researcher/artist Nickolay Lamm paints an almost hypnotic picture of these proposed realties for American cities like Miami, Boston, Washington D.C., and New York.

Ocean Drive on Miami Beach would be submerged under five feet of water.
Credit Nickolay Lamm /

Lamm was inspired by the New York Times' "What Could Disappear" map project, which shows what would happen to various coastal cities under a sea level rise of zero, five, 12, and 25 feet. The map shows a 94 percent flooding of Miami Beach at just a five foot rise in 100 to 300 years. By the 12-foot mark -- projected by the year 2300 "if nations make only moderate pollution cuts" -- the entirety of Miami Beach and 73 percent of Miami are shown under water.  

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Lamm, writing for, worked with Climate Change's Remik Ziemlinski to conceptualize how the sea level rise would actually look. He used stock images of geo-locations like Ocean Drive on Miami Beach and a palm-tree lined South Beach. He then used information from Google Earth to find the exact location on the NYT's sea level rise maps. Lamm then cross-referenced that against topography maps to pinpoint the location's distance above sea level. Next, he factored in the "peak-to-peak (low to high) tide difference" to demonstrate how the areas would look at different tide levels. 

In an interview with Mashable, Lamm said he had previously only seen Hollywood's version of sea level rise and wanted to create something to get people thinking about the issue: "I felt that if I could bring these maps to life, it would force people to look at sea level rise in a new way." He spent between 5 and 15 hours on each rendering. See all of the images here