Miami, FL

What will Florida look like if Thwaites Glacier melts? Here's your answer.

Toni Koraza

Parts of Florida are already underwater.

Oceans rose by 3 inches in just the past 100 years. Just look at the aerial overview. Do you see that sunken limestone? This Southern tip of the United States used to be much wider.

Florida's coastal elevation mostly lingers around 3-4 feet. This is one of the top reasons why floodings are tremendously disruptive for everyday life in Miami, Cape Coral, Florida Keys, and other coastal cities and towns.

Storms are pushing more water over the land, which is not high enough to deflect any surge in water levels.

What if a massive glacier melts into the water?

While Florida has always had its share of trouble with climate change, the latest generations have streamlined the problem. Global temperatures are rapidly rising. With a warmer climate, ice sheets are on the fast track to becoming fluid again.

Sadly, we don't need to change the core temperature much to foster a global disaster. Ice sheets don't melt like popsicles, according to expert Jeff Godell. The ice shelves are cracking underneath, and we only need a one or two degrees warmer sea to destabilize an entire ice sheet.

Currently, a Florida-sized Thwaites Glacier in the western Antartic holds enough water to raise sea levels by 10 feet. This surge would overwhelm several major cities in the United States and force tens of millions of people to migrate inland.

The economic damage? It's hard to say, but people would lose homes and entire life savings. More importantly, they'd lose stomping grounds they loved.

"If Thwaites Glacier collapses, it opens the door for the rest of the West Antarctic ice sheet to slide into the sea." Writes Jeff Goodell for the Rolling Stones.

The image below shows the impact of such a sea surge over Florida.

This would be more than just saying goodbye to Miami and the Florida Keys. Such a change would also flood the Everglades, Orlando, Palm Bay, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Jacksonville. Rising seal levels would erase the coastal Florida we know and love.

Experts predict the Glacier could melt in the next decade, exposing us to such a horrific change.

“God always forgives, we men forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives. If you give her a slap, she will give you one. I believe that we have exploited nature too much.” - Pope Francis

Are you worried about rising sea levels?

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