Special Report

28 Amazing Places That Could Be Underwater by 2050

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1. The Daintree Rainforest
> Site: Queensland, Australia

Climate Central warns that parts of Australia’s eastern coastline are on track to be subsumed by rising sea levels. A portion of the lush Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, part of the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest, would be affected, as would the picturesque town of Port Douglas to the south.

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2. Early Christian monuments
> Site: Ravenna, Italy

Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is known for its late Roman architecture, but it’s also home to the most important assemblage of Byzantine art outside Istanbul — especially the exquisite mosaics, sculptures, decorative stone- and metalwork, and ceramics housed in its many early Christian mausoleums and basilicas. Some sources warn that rising waters could flood many of these treasures.

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3. Elephanta Caves
> Site: Elephanta Island (Mumbai), India

The Indian metropolis of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) was built on what was originally a group of seven islands in the Arabian Sea. Almost completely surrounded by water, the city as a whole is considered to be in danger of being completely flooded.

Historic sites abound in the area, but one of the most precious is the Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site on a small island just across Mumbai Harbor from the city itself. The complex includes five caves filled with monumental Hindu religious carvings as well as several smaller Buddhist monuments. All could be submerged.

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4. Leptis Magna
> Site: Homs, Libya

In its World Heritage site description on Leptis Magna, east of Tripoli, on Libya’s coast, UNESCO notes that it was “one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire, with its imposing public monuments, harbour, market-place, storehouses, shops and residential districts.” Today, it is one of the best-preserved Roman sites anywhere, with much of what UNESCO described still standing.

Flooding occurs regularly at Leptis Magna, and a projected sea level rise of as much as three feet in the coming decades could render much of the site inaccessible.

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5. Banks of the Thames
> Site: London, England

Low-lying London is vulnerable to flooding even without sea level rise, and vastly improved control measures aren’t put into place in the coming decades, the inundation of a large part of the capital is inevitable.

Especially at risk are the institutions along the banks of the Thames, including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, King’s College, the Tate Britain museum, and the U.S. Embassy, as well as portions of the vaunted London Underground subway system.