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Top 10 Cities That'll Be UNDERWATER Sooner Than You Think

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Cameron Bradford.

There are more cities at risk of disappearing underwater than you may think. Whether it’s famously at-risk American cities like New York, Miami and New Orleans, cities with canals like Amsterdam and Venice or other major destinations like Kolkata or Shanghai, these cities could be under water within decades. WatchMojo counts down ten cities that will be underwater because of climate change.

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Special thanks to our user jackhammer for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Cities%20That%20Will%20be%20Underwater%20Because%20of%20Global%20Warming

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Transcript
Script written by Cameron Bradford.

Top 10 Cities That'll Be UNDERWATER Sooner Than You Think


The science is in: Earth is about to be in big trouble. Climate change is expected to flood countless coastal regions and wreak havoc in many other ways. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cities That'll Be Underwater Sooner Than You Think.

For this list, we’re looking at cities that are expected to incur the greatest amount of damage from rising sea levels and more intense storms in the next few years and decades.

#10: New York, USA


Many climatologists predict that six-foot floods could be a common occurrence by the end of the century, but before then storms that hit the Big Apple are expected to keep getting worse. A wake-up call came in 2012 with hurricane Sandy, which flooded 88,000 buildings and killed over 40 people in the area. New York is doing a lot of planning to prevent these disasters, most notably set to begin construction on “The Big U” in 2017. The big barrier system will form a perimeter around the lower half of Manhattan, which is at the highest risk of flooding.

#9: Abidjan, Ivory Coast


In a primarily agricultural country that is being ravaged by drought, many denizens of the Ivory Coast are finding refuge in the capital city. While the city does offer more economic opportunities, it, as well as other cities along the country’s coast, unfortunately is at great risk of flooding. Adding to the risk of coastal flooding is the Ivory Coast’s heavy rain seasons, which have spurred floods in the past. The large population of poor who live in improvised housing makes flooding worse, especially since the country may not be able to afford proper flood-control systems.

#8: Amsterdam, Netherlands


About two-thirds of the total land in Netherlands is subject to flooding and among those two thirds is the city of Amsterdam. Even before the threat of sea-level rise became imminent, Amsterdam was at a big risk. It sits right on the sea and has many canals running through it. On the bright side, the Dutch are frequently considered the masters of flood control and many of the techniques they are implementing in Amsterdam are being copied in New Amsterdam aka New York. The American city has already made plans to copy several Dutch flood control techniques. While climate change is set to affect all low-lying coastal cities, Amsterdam and other places in the Netherlands will hopefully be somewhat better prepared.

#7: Kolkata, India


As India continues to modernize, Kolkata slightly lags behind the other Indian mega cities. Kolkata sits only a meager 5 feet above sea level and it also has several rivers that run through it. Its saving grace is that it has a significant swath of wetlands near the city that could divert a lot of water in the event of a flood. Unfortunately, much of this wetland is under development and could disappear. At the turn of the century, the city boasted 650 wetlands and but that number has dropped to 27 as of 2016. The city will likely experience intense floods that could severely affect the poorer residents, but they could reduce this risk by embracing the natural advantage of well-preserved wetlands.

#6: Miami, USA


Florida, a flat swampy peninsula, is one of the states most at risk of flooding in the U.S. The cities of of Miami and Miami Beach already regularly flood. It simply takes a high tide or a tropical storm and many parts of South Florida experience encroaching floodwaters. The biggest loss from these floods will likely be the valuable real estate. Banks and insurance companies are expected to stop issuing mortgages and policies for properties in the area in the next few decades. Although hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the Miami and Miami beach areas, it’s not likely to actually prevent what is now considered inevitable.

#5: Shanghai, China


As the commercial capital of China, Shanghai has a lot of strain from its ever-growing population. The strain that’s put it in the most peril is sinking caused by its water use. Historically, much of the water used in the city had come from depleting aquifers under it. This constant drawing of water caused the city to sink. Even after they noticed the problem and took action in 1963, the city has still continued to sink a staggering 16 inches since then. On top of the sinking issue, it, like other entries on this list, is a coastal city that sits on a river and is flanked by a lake, so it has nowhere to run from encroaching flood waters. Its status as the China’s business center makes its vulnerabilities even more pressing.

#4: Venice, Italy


Being one of the longest inhabited cities on Earth is no easy feat especially when rising tides constantly threaten their very existence. Venice was an obvious choice for this list since it is already frequently underwater, but their seasonal intermittent floods are expected to become much worse as the global sea level rises. Since Venice has been dealing with flooding for so long, they have a couple tricks up their very wet sleeves. The most notable is the MOSE flood gates which, when completed, will block the Venetian lagoon off from Adriatic Sea.

#3: Mumbai, India


Though the catastrophic flood that overwhelmed Mumbai in 2005 was a wakeup call, the city has unfortunately done little to address its perilous situation in the decade that followed. Climate scientists have said that the likelihood of similar events could double by 2080, and that catastrophic events will probably happen even sooner than that. As an island city, Mumbai is subject to the full brunt of rising tides and the typhoons spun up by increasingly extreme weather.

#2: New Orleans, USA


After the devastation of hurricane Katrina, which flooded 80% of the city, New Orleans still remains at high risk. Situated on the intersection of a lake, a river and the Gulf of Mexico and with much of its land below sea-level, it’s unsurprising that this city is slated to have more problems with flooding in the future. While Katrina gave them the alarm they needed to boost the city’s flood control infrastructure, it still may not be enough to weather a super storm that may shock the gulf coast given enough time.



Before we unveil our top tip, here are some honorable mentions.



Manila, Philippines



San Francisco, USA



Guayaquil, Ecuador



#1: Guangzhou, China


One of China’s larger coastal cities, it is one of multiple metropolises on the South China Sea that is at severe risk of flooding. Similar to cities like Zhanjiang, Guangzhou is at risk for several reasons: a urban population boom, land subsidence and, of course, climate change. Of all the cities on this list, it stands to take the biggest financial hit from flooding – with estimates estimates suggesting that global flooding could cost the world $52 billion dollars a year after 2050. Given the city’s status as a financial powerhouse for the country, the effects of climate change could be even more disastrous for the country than expected.
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