These Are All the Places That Would Be Underwater If the Polar Ice Caps Melted...Look Out, Florida

Here’s a sobering image to start off your Monday morning: In case you’ve ever wondered what the world would look like if the polar ice caps melted completely, here’s a map that gives us a pretty good idea. Martin Vargic (also known as Jay Jason Simons), an amateur graphic designer from Slovakia, has created an illustration showing how high the sea level could rise if we keep going at the rate we are now. The map shows both the present shorelines as well as where those shorelines will be in 2100, and, well… get ready to say goodbye to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Houston, Miami, and a whole lot of other wonderful places in the world.

Vargic writes on his DeviantART page that, should they melt, there’s enough ice in the polar ice caps to cause a 250-to-300-foot rise of the sea level. It’s not quite Water World levels of land loss, but it’s still pretty freaky — and it would still be catastrophic. More than 75 percent of the world’s population lives less than 300 feet above sea level; most major cities, for example, are located in low-lying places. About half of England would disappear, a good deal of the U.S.’s East Coast would vanish underwater, and a huge chunk of Australia would end up submerged. True, it won’t happen in our lifetime — but just because we won’t have to deal with it ourselves doesn’t mean it’s not our problem.

Vargic is a full-time student; in spite of his busy schedule, though, he worked for approximately eight hours a day for three months to create the map. “I created these maps both to raise awareness about global warming and also for artistic purposes,” he wrote in an email to Business Insider, “[because] nobody has yet done a similar map on such a scale. Although the 260 ft. rise of the sea levels is a little bit extreme scenario, it could become reality in the end of the millennium.” Hopefully this map — which has a stunning vintage style — will be a wake up call for us to start limiting our CO2 emissions to the bare minimum in an effort to slow global warming.

For the curious, here's what the East Coast of the United States will look like in 2100:

Look at how much will be gone. All those cities and towns — including the entire state of Florida. Yikes. And this is just a snapshot — head over to Vargic's DeviantART page to embiggen the whole thing and zero in on specific locations.

Tomorrow is Earth Day, so there’s no time like the present to start giving our world a little TLC. Not sure where to start? Try 50 Ways to Help the Planet. They may all seem like little things — turning your computer off at night instead of putting it in sleep mode, instate Meatless Mondays in your house, and so on — but the little things add up, and it takes next to no effort to do them. Everybody wins!

For more Earth Day resources, check out the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s official Earth Day page.

Images: Martin Vargic