Shortcut Navigation:

Flooded City


A model of Manhattan that was in the Climate Change exhibition shows the effect of rising sea levels.

Denis Finnin/AMNH

The model you see here doesn't predict the future—but it does illustrate one possible outcome of polar ice sheet meltdown. It shows the southern end of Manhattan Island, a borough currently home to more than 1.5 million people, under 3 and 5 meters (about 10 and 16 feet) of sea-level rise. The higher amount would occur if a significant part of the ice sheets in Greenland or Antarctica melted—a scenario experts consider unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Is this how Manhattan would really look, centuries to thousands of years in the future, as sea levels got higher? Probably not, because we would, at enormous expense, build sea walls and pumps to protect the city's complex infrastructure.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am-5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!