Orlando, FL

What will Orlando look like if a big glacier melts? Here’s your answer

Toni Koraza

Image by OpenStreetMapOpenStreetMap Contributors

Orlando is about 82 feet above sea level, which isn’t much, especially when you consider how rapidly ice is melting worldwide. Sea levels have risen nearly three inches in the past century. While this might seem like a slow progression, it’s alarming when you consider how many glaciers exist.

There are already some issues with visiting Orlando in terms of weather. While the city’s elevation is enough to avoid many tropical storms, it gets a lot of rain. Therefore, the city is no stranger to flooding advisories. But rising sea levels are another issue altogether.

The melting glacier in the Pine Island Bay

The problem is that Thwaites Glacier is cracking, melting, and threatening to release large amounts of water into our oceans. It’s about 74,000 square miles, which makes it larger than the state of Florida. Or just about 35,816,000 football fields.

So if a glacier the size of Orlando’s home state melts, it’s not hard to imagine what will happen to its coastal cities. In fact, if all the glaciers melt, sea levels will rise about 230 feet. That’s enough to put the whole state of Florida underwater and turn it into the next Atlantis.

Even a 10-foot increase in sea level will eliminate coastal cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Port St. Lucie. Parts of Orlando will go as well, such as Disney World and Universal Studios. By the time the sea levels increase by 100 feet, Orlando will be a group of islands. You’ll have to take a boat from attraction to attraction—not that many will remain. This sad reality would cause tremendous immigration and economic problems. Property damage would be measured in trillions of dollars, and many of our stomping grounds would be entirely submerged.

The silver lining

However, the government is aware of the rising sea level and works to mitigate the potential risks. Gov. Ron DeSantis, while not publically accepting the realities of melting glaciers, he's signing legislation that will help sustain Florida in cases of extreme sea-level surges. Talking about this problem would create ripples through his political base, so he's dealing with it on the policy level.

Every foot of increasing sea level puts cities like Orlando at risk.

Are You Worried About Rising Sea Levels?

If you’re worried about rising sea levels, leave a comment and share this story on social media. It’s important to start discussions about these problems and see what people can do to help and prepare for the upcoming changes.

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