Special Report

28 Amazing Places That Could Be Underwater by 2050

Source: diegograndi / iStock via Getty Images

26. Pelourinho
> Site: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Salvador de Bahia, on Brazil’s east coast, was the country’s first capital. Its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is full of Renaissance-era churches and palaces and houses painted in pastels. The center’s Pelourinho district is particularly dense in impressive buildings and monuments.

Projections of sea level rise are tricky in Brazil because data from earlier times is spotty, but there is evidence of high sea levels in Salvador’s history, and the city is considered to be one of the coastal sites most vulnerable to rising tides.

Source: Daniel_Keuck / iStock via Getty Images

27. Seafront promenades and Parque Genovés
> Site: Cádiz, Spain

Cádiz, in the southwestern Spanish region of Andalusia, was established by the Phoenicians more than three thousand years ago, and is one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities (some say the oldest). On an irregularly shaped spit of land sticking out into the bay, it is defenseless against rising waters. Among the first portions of the city to go would be its romantic alamedas, or seafront promenades, and the idyllic Parque Genovés, with its waterfalls and lush tropical vegetation.

28. The Sundarbans
> Site: Bay of Bengal, India and Bangladesh

The Sundarbans are a vast mangrove forest on a delta in the Bay of Bengal, shared by India and Bangladesh. There are four UNESCO World Heritage sites within the area. Its waters, grasslands, and thickets are home to an estimated 453 species of wildlife, including the endangered Bengal tiger.

It is also a place that has experienced what has been called “extraordinarily rapid sea-level rise” in recent decades, and has lost almost 12% of its shoreline since 1980. If the increase in water level persists, according to researchers for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the mangroves — and much of the fauna they host — will be gone by 2050.

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