Recent headlines have made it clear that climate change is getting really, really real. Temperatures are rising, glaciers are melting into the sea and some communities are already having to relocate because of rising sea levels.
It might seem like the stuff of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, but scientists predict that within the next 100 years, the impact of climate change will be so dramatic that humans won't be able to live -- or will have to adapt their lifestyles radically -- in many places unless we dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and change the planet's current climate change trends.
Tuesday (Oct. 27) the New York Times published a beautiful but terrifying interactive story called "Greenland Is Melting Away," which revealed that the "the melting of Greenland is accelerating" at an alarming, previously unknown rate. While they can't predict the precise rate of ice melt, scientists are worried that within several decades "the full melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could increase [global] sea levels by about 20 feet."
The Persian GulfGetty
A report published Monday (Oct. 26) in the journal Nature Climate Change predicted that by the year 2090, cities in the Persian Gulf -- like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Kuwait City -- could reach heat index temperatures (which take the effects of both temperature and humidity into consideration) of 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too hot to support the survival of even the healthiest humans (at least if they ever plan to venture outdoors).
Parts Of Alaska And CanadaGetty
"There are several Native American communities in coastal Alaska and Canada that are having to relocate because of coastal erosion that is accelerating due to a combination of melting permafrost, the loss of sea ice that protects the coastline, and global sea level rise," Dr. Virginia Van Sickle-Burkett, Chief Scientist for Global Change at the U.S. Geological Survey and an expert on the impact of climate change, told MTV News via email.
Several Major U.S. Cities
Earlier this year MTV News reported on a study that suggested that New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, San Diego and Boston are at a much greater risk of severe flooding than previously thought as the result of climate change. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also reported that coastal cities like Miami and New Orleans will likely be completely under water by 2100 if climate change trends continue unchecked.
Low-Lying Islands Like The Marshall Islands, Maldives And Palau
Low-lying islands in the Pacific are at risk of completely disappearing under water if we warm the planet by a mere two additional degrees. This prompted a BBC writer to ask earlier this year, "If sea levels rise as feared, some of the world’s island nations may disappear this century. Does that mean they no longer exist as countries?"
Much Of Southeast Asia
According to an analysis by Climate Central, "147 to 216 million people live on land that will be below sea level or regular flood levels by the end of the the century" if climate change trends continue at their current rate. The study found that 8 of the 10 countries most at risk are in Asia, and include China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar.
Much Of The Netherlands
The same Climate Central study revealed that more than 40 percent of the population of the Netherlands could be exposed to rising sea levels. The New York Times notes that the country "has the world’s most advanced levee system, which means in practice its risk is much lower." In other words, the population of the Netherlands might actually be able to say put, but only if they're able to use technology keep the floodwaters at bay.