Special Report

28 Amazing Places That Could Be Underwater by 2050

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21. Dōtonbori
> Site: Osaka, Japan

The Dōtonbori district, running between two bridges over the Dōtonbori Canal in Japan’s second-largest city, is a sort of waterside Asian Times Square, famed for its massive neon billboards, its restaurants and food stalls, its nightlife, and its overall hedonistic atmosphere.

A rise of about three feet in sea level would send water spilling over the canal walls and wash away many of the district’s attractions — and according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, such a rise is well within the range of projections for future decades if current global warming trends continue.

Source: Rochelimit / Wikimedia Commons

22. Thousand Islands
> Site: Jakarta, Indonesia

The Thousand Islands (of which there are actually 342), a string of islets scattered off the coast of Jakarta, is home to resorts, recreational facilities, parks, private residences, and fishing villages. The archipelago is a marine conservation area, where rare hawksbill turtles hatch and other creatures of the sea and land live in relative peace.

According to a policy specialist from Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, a sea level rise by 2050 could submerge some 2,000 of the country’s smaller islands, and the Thousand Islands would likely be among them.

23. Piazza San Marco
> Site: Venice, Italy

Venice is already flooded regularly by the “acqua alta,” or high water, that often covers the city streets and squares in spring and fall, sometimes to a depth of as much as five or six feet. A massive system of protective barriers to keep out the sea has been under construction for years, but may not ultimately provide enough protection if the water level rises enough.

Perhaps the most famous portion of the city to be affected would be the Piazza San Marco — a huge, beautiful square ringed by cafés and fancy shops beneath colonnades, with the Doge’s Palace and the Basilica of San Marco on one side.

Source: Michael Warren / iStock via Getty Images

24. Historic downtown area
> Site: St. Augustine, Florida, USA

Established by the Spanish on the northeastern coast of Florida in 1565, St. Augustine, has a viable claim to being the oldest continuously inhabited city in the continental United States. A number of old Spanish houses and military and civic buildings survive, and the historic downtown area is known for its charm and easy-going lifestyle. Unfortunately, according to projections by Climate Central, there’s a 64% chance that the area will endure at least one flood more than four feet in depth between now and 2050.

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25. Anse Lazio
> Site: Praslin Island, Seychelles

Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa, is known for its natural beauty, its arts and music scene, and its exquisite beaches — of which Anse Lazio, dramatically framed by granite boulders, is one of the most appreciated. Unlike some other parts of Praslin Island, it isn’t protected by coral reefs, and was submerged by a tsunami in 2004 and again by monsoon floods in 2019. It has already been badly affected by sea level rise and erosion, and its future isn’t promising.