A clipping from Jeffrey Linn’s Islands of Seattle map shows the hypothetical Lake City Bay and Thornton Bay, the result of the melt of all global ice sheets. (Click image to see full map)
You may have seen this map being shared in the last few days on social media.
Jeffrey Linn has created a unique look at Seattle. His “Islands of Seattle” shows what our city would look like if polar ice sheets all melted, raising the sea level —significantly.
While not something that is expected to happen in the next few millennia, a climate event of this magnitude, and the topography of North Seattle, would change Lake City Way into Lake City Bay. Cedar Park would become Cedar Heights Island and much of the Thornton Creek watershed would be underwater.
From Linn’s post on the University of Washington’s The Whole U blog:
This map is based on real-world information—I created the Seattle sea levels from publicly-available LiDAR data, rendering the rise of the seas in 10-foot increments for the animation, starting at the current shoreline, and ending with the 240-foot level. The Islands of Seattle poster was rendered at 240 feet of rise, which is roughly what would happen if all the world’s ice sheets melted.
Now this extreme event is not something to cause you to worry that your yard may be underwater in thousands of years. But it is an interesting look at what our small slice of the globe could look like in the distant future.
Linn said in his post:
I don’t know how long it would take for this to happen. One estimate says roughly 5,000 years. If this is accurate, then our descendants living with this level of sea rise would look back on our time in the same way that we might look back on the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt. The time of the pharaohs would be closer to us than the time of the Seattle Archipelago. So, although we should all be very concerned about the effects of climate change, including the resulting sea rise, don’t base your next apartment rental decision on this map.
You can view Linn’s map in much more detail here on his site.