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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Seattle Archipelago

Posted by on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 10:57 AM

The Islands of Seattle: based on a 240 rise in sea level should all of the worlds ice sheets melt.
  • Jeffrey Linn | UW
  • The Islands of Seattle: based on a 240' rise in sea level should all of the world's ice sheets melt.

We've written about Seattle as an urban archipelago in the political sense, but if temperatures keep rising and the ice keeps melting, that's where our region is headed quite literally. To this end, Jeffrey Linn, a campus planner at the University of Washington, has created this weirdly fascinating map—The Islands of Seattle—depicting our city's watery geography some 5,000 years hence in the event of a worst-case climate change scenario: A 240' rise in sea level.

Thankfully for folks here at The Stranger, our offices are safely ensconced high and dry on the aptly named Capitol Island. As for me, Linn's map suggests that I am the proud owner of future waterfront property on the charming little Graham Island, just to the south of the Columbia Shoal. Yay for me!

Linn provides images with further details over at the blog Spatialities, along with a nifty little animated GIF illustrating the effects of sea-level rise over time. Click through for the full map, and find out whether you are one of the real estate winners or losers of global warming.


Comments (30) RSS

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Can you imagine all of the buildings of downtown rising straight out of the sound?
Posted by Mr John on January 16, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 2


Ok, so this so-called climate change is happening, but humans had nothing to do with it and it happens at regular intervals and we can't do anything about it anyway so I'm going to go fill up my Humvee with ultra premium.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 3
Looks like it would be good for density.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 16, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 4
And my property becomes exactly waterfront! So I'm okay with this.

(Pretty cool actually...)

Can we expect this to happen overnight sometime soon, or do I need to wait hundreds of years to enjoy beachfront island living?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 5
@4, thousands of years. Five thousands of them.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on January 16, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 6
Damn... Guess I won't by that boat at lunch today.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 16, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 7
Anyone have a map showing what the region looked like 5,000 years ago?
In Pompeii I was amazed at how far inland its onetime seawall is today.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 8
@4 - There would also likely be some shifting of the land itself as it becomes inundated with sea water. Waves crashing at your doorstep are going to have some effects on your land values.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
Fnarf 9
@8, not to mention all the other land creation and destruction forces at work. In 5,000 years we're surely going to see some volcanic activity, earthquakes, landslides, bombs, accretions of garbage and pottery (or plastic, more likely), etc. Note that the existing landscape is mostly either sand or mud, which came from somewhere.

I'm just worried about the future fight over the stroller lane around Green Lake.
Posted by Fnarf on January 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 10
Will we still stroll in 5,000 years???
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 16, 2014 at 11:49 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 11

There's also the issue of what's going to happen to the sewer systems of coastal cities even in the event of a relatively small sea level rise.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Oh crap! KM Alexander's book The Stars Were Right (released last year), set in the distant future, includes a sunken watery Seattle AND a tunneler stuck under it. The guy is some kind of oracle.…
Posted by Big Adventure Steve on January 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM · Report this
rob! 13
@10: No.
Posted by rob! on January 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
smart money says 50 years...
Posted by tick tock, perverts on January 16, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 15
Damn! My house is still four blocks from the new beach.

On the lower side, unfortunately.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 16, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 16
Chez Vel-DuRay is going to be waterfront property!!!
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this

Yeah, because according to the deniers, apparently only weather patterns that occur in the Northern Hemisphere count - the fact that Australia is practically withering away in a record-setting heat-wave right now doesn't prove anything about Climate Change donchaknow?
Posted by COMTE on January 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM · Report this

oh no,we see that yopui girls are right.

tell us what to do to stop Climate Change.

go ahead.

we're listening.......
Posted by ............. s i l e n c e ................ hello?! on January 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM · Report this
venomlash 19
@18: End government subsidies of fossil fuel exploration/extraction, increase funding of alternative energy research, subsidize electricity generated from renewable sources, budget for costs of geoengineering to combat warming and ocean acidification, establish stricter penalties for pollution and offer tax incentives for companies that reduce their emissions beyond what is required.
Did you get all that?
Posted by venomlash on January 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 20
Houseboat here I come!

Any chance Sophia Loren is available?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
@19 is correct.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 22
I'm always happy to live on a hill in Seattle because of the omnipresent tsunami danger.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on January 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM · Report this
Mike Smith 23
Yay, I get to survive!
Posted by Mike Smith on January 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 24
What about the money lost on property? That's a hell of a lot of valuable real estate that's under water. Will state absorb the cost? At what cost? The fed?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 16, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Fnarf 25
There isn't going to be a Fed anymore, because the already-submerged state of Florida will have bankrupted them long beforehand. Florida's going to be gone before the end of this century, and since the entire state is filled to the brim with financial criminals with special expertise in real estate, the claims are going to exceed the value of everything in the other 49 states put together. So you won't care about what happens to your house, because Floridians will be living in it while you are pulling seaweed out of the ocean and drying it on the side of your raft to eat.
Posted by Fnarf on January 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 26
@23 - Your house may be above water, but you're not accounting for the savage mobs of displaced lowlanders.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 27
And they'll have just finally finished the light rail to West Seattle by 7014 A.D. Shit.
Posted by Original Andrew on January 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM · Report this
You want density? There's your density.
Posted by jonnie on January 16, 2014 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Wow, 28 comments and no references to Earthsea? I mean, I don't want the ice caps to melt, but am I the only one who sees this map and dreams of wizard school, dragonlordship and becoming Archmage?

"The island of Beacon, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Puget Sound, is a land famous for wizards...."
Posted by Jude Fawley on January 16, 2014 at 10:12 PM · Report this
venomlash 30
@29: As far as LeGuin novels go, I'm more worried about The Lathe of Heaven.
Posted by venomlash on January 17, 2014 at 5:53 AM · Report this

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