Key West, Florida
Key West airport is flooded a few times a year. The average height above sea level is just 3 feet, and storm surges have reached 8 feet. Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico are only going to get worse as a result of global warming, increasing the likelihood of Key West being hit. The Florida Keys in general are already experiencing consistent problems with rising sea levels. Big Pine Key, the second largest island, is expected to be under water in just a few decades.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of South America’s most popular cities has always been warm, but it’s getting warmer there and this will cause many problems. By some estimates Brazil’s second most populous city will be the one worst affected on the continent, with floods, heat waves, and the resulting damage and spread of disease becoming more common.
The sea level is expected to rise by more than 5.5 inches in the next few years, according to a report by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, a consortium of climate change scientists.
About 70% of Venice, a city sick and tired of tourists, was under water in October 2018 during one of the worst floods in Italy’s history. Experts warn such episodes are part of a pattern consistent with climate change. Sea levels have increased by nine inches since 1897, 40% of which is due to melting polar ice.
No other place in the United States has warmed faster than Alaska. Sea ice and glaciers are getting smaller and the permafrost layer — soil beneath the surface that is permanently frozen — is melting. This can lead to soil sinking, destroying roads and infrastructure. The state, which accounts for about a fifth of the nation’s territory, has seen average temperatures increase by 3 degrees in the last 60 years, including an increase of 6 degrees in the winter.
The Amazon is the largest tropical forest on the planet and absorbs most of the carbon dioxide people produce. Droughts, which have become more common over the last decade, have killed many trees. Tall trees die first, because they need more water to survive, reducing the overall height of the forest. This, in turn, leads to the forest being unable to store as much carbon dioxide as it once did.
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