1. The Alps
By 2050, climate experts predict that the Alps glacier will have completely disappeared. That’s 50 Years earlier than a July 2006 study predicted. Since the Alps sit at a lower altitude than other mountain ranges, their glaciers are especially prone to shrinking from climate change. The mountain range loses around 3% of it’s Alpine glacial ice each year which corresponds to about 1 meter of ice thickness. Scientists have attempted to prevent the Alps from melting by covering them in special blankets. The Alps’ oldest glacier, the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland, has been covered for the past 8 years, which reduces the ice melt by as much as 70%, but still much of the damage has already been done. The loss of the Alps glacier would change the supply of drinking and irrigation water, lead to more falling rocks, and cripple the European ski industry.
You would better get your gondola ride in soon, because the beautiful Italian city of Venice is slowly sinking and shows no sign of slowing down. With it’s intricate network of canals and waterways, several of Venice’s ornate buildings have suffered subsidence and structural damage as a result of rising water levels. In 2008, the city was struck by catastrophic floods that left plenty of signs of damage. In the years that have followed, flooding in the city has become a regular occurrence and the Venetians are very aware that the situation is deteriorating. Scientists also fear that the floods are causing the city to tilt to the east and head out to the Adriatic Sea and some even predict that by 2100, the city will be uninhabitable.
3. San Francisco
The looming threats of earthquakes is nothing new for Californians. But a new discovery in October 2016 in the heart of the San Francisco has upped the risk of a historically disastrous quake. A team of geologists discovered that underneath the murky waters of the San Francisco Bay a connection had occurred between two earthquake fault zones, the Rodgers Creek and Hayward faults. When this connected fault next slips, it could produce a magnitude 7.4 earthquake, which would be California’s fifth largest earthquake and very likely its most deadly. According to the University of California, research forecasts a 75% probability that an earthquake of this magnitude could occur in San Francisco by 2086. Such a quake would obliterate the city, taking with it thousands of lives and destroying hundreds of buildings.
The Alaskan tundra, which is a vast flat treeless region where the subsoil is permanently frozen, is one of the most distinctive features of America’s northernmost state. However, climate change has led to the thawing of the region’s permafrost, which not only damages infrastructure but also dramatically alters the current ecosystem. Within 10 years, scientists predict that the tiny Alaskan village of Kivalina will be under water, and it’s 400 inhabitants will become America’s first climate change refugees. Kivalina’s story is not unique, though temperature records show that the Arctic region of Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the United States. Retreating ice, slowly rising sea levels, and increased coastal erosion have left three Inuit settlements similar to Kivalina’s facing imminent destruction and at least 8 more at serious risk. Now research suggests that within 100 years Alaska’s tundra will have completely disappeared.
5. The Maldives
Known for it’s clean waters, white sandy beaches and 5 star resorts, The Maldives is the ideal spot for the honeymooners, but it’s slowly sinking. The Maldives are made up of 26 coral atolls in a chain reaching down to cross the equator. Within those 26 atolls there are roughly 1,200 islands and of these around 200 are inhabited and 100 are resort. Back in 2009, the then president of the Maldives, President Mohamed Nasheed, held a press conference under water to highlight the dangers faced by his country. Some of the coral islands are just 1.8 meters above sea level, putting them at threat from global warming, which, as previously mentioned, is going to cause the sea to rise 2 meters by 2100. With a population of 345,000 there could be a huge upheaval if the sea started taking over the land, and within less than 100 years the stunning tropical paradise could be completely submerged.
6. Congo Basin
The world’s second largest rain-forest, spanning 6 countries and responsible for nearly half of the world’s oxygen, is one of the most important and yet vulnerable wilderness areas on the planet. Teeming with gorillas, elephants and buffalo across savannas, swamps and forest, the basin is one of the most bio-diverse areas on earth. In the past few years, the 3.4 million square km forest has been decreasing rapidly due to deforestation, mining and the illegal wildlife trade. From 2002 to 2013, the Democratic Republic of Congo elephant population decreased dramatically from roughly 62,000 to 5,000. Environmentalists worry that a significant proportion of the forest’s plants and animals could disappear within the next 50 years, while the United Nations predicts that two thirds of it may be completely gone by 2040.
On the idyllic island nation of Kiribati you can surf, bird watch and scuba dive. There’s just one problem that the water is rising fast. For years, scientists have been predicting that much of Kiribati may become uninhabitable within decades, due to an onslaught of environmental problems linked to climate change. Much of it’s 33 coral atolls and reef islands which are scattered across an area about twice the size of Alaska, lie no higher than 1.8 meters above sea level. The latest climate model predict that the world’s oceans could rise to 1 meters by 2100, so Kiribati’s government has been drawing up plans to account for it’s demise. In 2014, it bought nearly 6,000 acres in Fiji- an island nation more than 1609 kilometers away, for nearly 7 million dollars as a potential refuge and urged its 110,000 residents to consider moving abroad.
8. Great Wall Of China
If you are planning a trip to see the Great Wall Of China, we suggest you to book your tickets now as nearly a third of it has already disappeared. Natural erosion damage from tourists, and people stealing bricks to build houses means that estimates of the wall’s length now vary from 9000-21000 km depending on whether missing sections are included. The UNESCO World Heritage Site stretches for thousands of kilometers from Shanhaiguan on the east coast of the country to Jiayuguan on the edge of the Gobi desert. Poor villagers who live near the wall have reportedly stolen bricks in order to build settlements. The locals would knock thick grey bricks from a section of wall in their village to build homes, and slabs engraved with Chinese characters were sold for 30 Yuan or 4 dollar. Under Chinese law, people who remove bricks from the Great Wall can be fined upto 5,000 Yuan or just over 720 dollars, but this isn’t enough to stop people taking them. Scientists predict that the north western Great Wall sections are likely to disappear within 20 years, and it’s only a matter of time for the rest.
It’s a popular holiday spot for paradise seekers, but the island of the Seychelles, located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar, might soon be gone. Rising water levels as a result of global warming could make the 115 islands completely uninhabitable. If the ocean rose as little as 91 cm, this would render the 87,122 residents homeless. In 2010, Ronald Jumeau, the Seychelles ambassador to the UN, stated that he doesn’t know what the country should fear most, the death of corals- which will result in so much erosion that the islands will be literally swept away or the steadily rising sea level, which will simply ‘drown’ everything. The islands are heavily reliant on tourism, so if the beaches disappear, it could make life very difficult for islanders. Locals are already noticing their beaches shrinking as the land continues to disappear beneath the approaching water. Some experts believe that in 50 to 100 years, the entire Seychellesarchipelago could be completely submerged.
10. The Great Barrier Reef
With 1600 species of fish, 130 types of sharks and rays, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins, The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet. But scientists predict that climate change is set to wreck irreversible damage by 2030 unless immediate action is taken to protect it. In the past three decades, half of it’s coral has disappeared due to a combination of warming ocean temperatures, coastal development and agricultural runoff. Marine biologists fear that some species could be on their way to extinction if all of the coral dies, such as butterfly fish, whale sharks and hawksbill sea turtles. It’s not just animal and plant species that are at risk though; the popular diving and tourist destination contributes more than 3 billion dollar annually to Australia’s economy and provides over 60,000 people with jobs that rely on the reef’s ongoing health.