Louisiana is constantly in a losing battle with the Gulf of Mexico, but a new study suggests the end will come much sooner than even the most pessimistic of past reports.
According to an article in Climate Central, Antarctic glaciers are now melting at a greater rate than ever, and it is unstoppable. One area in particular, The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, contains enough ice to ultimately contribute 10 to 13 feet to global sea level rise. At least 12 inches of that is expected by 2020.
To put this into perspective, global sea levels have risen by only 7.5 inches since 1880. During this time, Louisiana’s Southeast coastline has seen a relative rise of almost 3 feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Six short years from now, the Gulf of Mexico will be at least one foot higher than it is today, and in turn, much of Louisiana will be 1 foot lower or even underwater. 75% of the population of New Orleans and 94% of those in Metairie will be under the Gulf’s waters. Between Orleans, Jefferson, and Cameron Parishes, almost 400,000 acres of land will be under as well.
An interactive map showing the effects of rising water levels can be found here.