What will Maine look like if a massive glacier melts? Here’s your answer

Toni Koraza

Image by Mr. Matté

Northerners call Maine “Vacationland.” People from all over the northeast head here for hiking, fishing, and lobsters. Its gorgeous forested landscape and breathtaking rocky coastlines may not be around for much longer, though. If the Thwaites Glacier melts, some of Maine’s coastal cities will end up underwater.

Landmarks like the Acadia National Park, the Victoria Mansion, and the Portland Observatory could be lost. You can’t stop by Rose Foods for coffee and a bagel sandwich or head to the Prom to watch the sunset if they’re submerged.

The upcoming floods

Data analysis of previous trends predicts there will be floods over 5 feet tall between now and 2050. It’s not a question of if it will happen. It’s a question of how often it will happen.

Thwaites Glacier is the largest glacier on Earth and has a significant impact on sea levels. If the glacier cracks open, global sea levels would rapidly increase by 25 inches. That would detrimentally impact the entire coastline of Maine.

Thwaites Glacier is rapidly melting, so this problem is becoming more serious. That’s not taking into consideration that sea levels are rising half an inch annually anyway.

Maine will change in our lifetime

It would be easy to pretend that melting glaciers aren’t a problem today, but they are. The people of Maine are at a 72% risk of experiencing floods over 5 feet tall in the next ten years alone. That might sound like an impossible obstacle to overcome, but it’s not.

There are things we can do now to help prevent further decline and build a more resilient coast. The government of Maine and the University of Maine both offer climate change resources, so you can start helping today.

The government seems to be behind these efforts too. Even if they don’t agree with the impact of the rising sea level publically, the latest policy reflects worry about Maine’s future.

Are you worried about the rising sea level?

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