Don’t worry, this won’t be on the test, but the location where they filmed cherished children’s TV show Gullah Gullah Island will be underwater before the end of this century, if not sooner.
Strong storms are going to get stronger, heat waves are going to get hotter, and droughts are going to get drier, but the one consequence of climate change that will affect humans the quickest is displacement from coastal areas as sea levels rise. As global temperatures increase — 2014 was the hottest year we have on record — our seas will bloat. Extra water pours in from melting glaciers and the oceans literally expand as they get warmer. The result is higher sea levels.
The few millimeters per year that the seas are rising may not seem like much, but four billion members of our species live within 400 kilometers of a coastline. Over the next few decades, those millimeters will add up. Millions and millions of us live in areas where just a foot or more could ruin house and home. And by the year 2100, Gullah Gullah Island will be gone. Its filming location will, anyway.
While Gullah Gullah Island was filmed in the same studio as Clarissa Explains It All, many of its outdoor shots were filmed at Fripp Island in South Carolina — a location where any sea level rise will hit hard.
Using NOAA’s sea level rise simulator, I located Fripp Island and rose the oceans around Gullah Gullah Island. Here’s what Fripp Island looks like normally:
And here’s what happens with one foot of sea level rise (the light blue is shallow water, the green is low-lying areas):
Here is two feet:
Now let’s go further. Here is Fripp Island enduring four feet of sea level rise:
Let’s max out this simulator with six feet:
Six feet of sea level rise is obviously the worst-case scenario here, but it is a bit drastic. According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we can expect maybe 3 feet of sea level rise within the next 80 years or so if things keep getting worse, i.e., if we keep recklessly burning fossil fuels. However, that rise would still put much of Fripp Island underwater, and most likely Gullah Gullah Island along with it.
Oh, but Binyah Binyah Polliwog will be alright.
Kyle Hill is the Science Editor of Nerdist Industries. Follow on Twitter @Sci_Phile.