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Will the whole world be under water? What would the different continents of the world look like?
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According to “What the World Would Look Like If All the Ice Melted” (Nationalgeographic.com, 2017), there is a vast amount of ice on Earth which equates to more than five million cubic miles! Despite this, predicted sea level rise from the melting of this ice on the surface of the Earth (like the melting of the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheet) would be about 216 feet (65 metres). This is enough sea level rise to submerge countries, particularly those which are coastal or low-lying like the Maldives, but not enough to completely submerge the Earth and leave it underwater.

If all of the ice on the planet was to melt, the continents that we inhabit today would look remarkably different. For example, in California the hills of San Francisco would become a cluster of very small islands, London would be underwater, Australia would have a huge sea in the middle of its landmass and much of coastal India would be submerged. Africa is predicted to be the least affected in terms of land mass lost to sea, but would suffer indefinitely in terms of rising global temperatures turning a lot of the land mass, particularly around the equator, to inhabitable desert.

For further, accessible reading, see Mathez E, “Will the World Ever Be All under Water?” (American Museum of Natural History, 2019).

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