Share

What Earth Would Look Like If All The Ice Melted

November 10, 2013

Stories about the loss of Arctic sea ice and the melting of the Greenland ice sheet have become commonplace in our warming world, but have you ever wondered what the planet would look like if all of it – every last mountain glacier and chunk of polar ice – melted for good?

National Geographic explored this exact scenario in a newly released set of artists' renderings of how Earth's coastlines would look if sea levels worldwide rose by 216 feet, the volume the magazine estimates is possible if all of the ice now on land melts away into the ocean.

The illustrations show what every continent in the world would look like in this scenario, with all of the world's current 5 million cubic miles of ice melted (which scientists say would take more than 5,000 years). From Houston, New Orleans, and Miami to Charleston, New York, and Boston – if this came to pass, all of them would be wiped off the map forever.

See the interactive maps for "If All The Ice Melted" at National Geographic.

MORE: Glaciers in Retreat

Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (1938 and 2009)

Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (1938 and 2009)

A side-by-side comparison of Grinnell Glacier in Montana's Glacier National Park. The black-and-white photo on the left dates from 1938, while the color photo on the right was taken in 2009. (T.J. Hileman and Lindsey Bengtson, USGS)

  • Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (1938 and 2009)
  • Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (1940)
  • Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (2006)
  • Boulder Glacier, Glacier National Park (1932)
  • Boulder Glacier, Glacier National Park (2005)
  • Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park (1880s)
  • Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park (2005)
  • Pedersen Glacier, Kenai Mountains (1920s - 1940s)
  • Pedersen Glacier, Kenai Mountains (2005)
  • Yale Glacier, Chugach National Forest (1937)
  • Yale Glacier, Chugach National Forest (2006)
  • Holgate Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (1909)
  • Holgate Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (2004)
  • Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (1909)
  • Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (2005)
  • McCarty Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (1909)
  • McCarty Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (2004)
  • Plateau Glacier, St. Elias Mountains (1961)
  • Plateau Glacier, St. Elias Mountains (2003)
  • Reid Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park (1899)
  • Reid Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park (2003)
  • Harris Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park (1920s-1940s)
  • Harris Bay, Kenai Fjords National Park (2005)
  • Boulder Glacier, Glacier National Park (1913)
  • Boulder Glacier, Glacier National Park (2012)
  • Iceberg Glacier, Glacier National Park (1940)
  • Iceberg Glacier, Glacier National Park (2010)
  • Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (1936)
  • Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park (2010)
  • Shepard Glacier, Glacier National Park (1913)
  • Shepard Glacier, Glacier National Park (2005)
  • Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (2002)
  • Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park (2007)

 


Featured Blogs

Hurricane Science Legend Dr. Robert Simpson Dies at Age 102

By Dr. Jeff Masters
December 19, 2014

Dr. Robert Simpson, one of the originators of the familiar Saffir-Simpson scale, passed away peacefully in his sleep today at the age of 102. He was the director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC) from 1967 - 1974.

November 2014 Global Weather Extremes Summary

By Christopher C. Burt
December 18, 2014

November was globally the 7th warmest such on record according to NOAA and 8th according to NASA (see Jeff Master’s blog for more about this). It was a cold month in the U.S. with some phenomenal lake-effect snowstorms. A powerful storm, dubbed a ‘Medicane’ formed in the Mediterranean Sea. Deadly floods occurred in Morocco, Italy, and Switzerland. It was the warmest November on record for Australia, Italy, Austria and much of Southeast Asia.Below are some of the month’s highlights.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.