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Earth Software Science

New Interactive Map For Understanding Global Flood Risks 64

Posted by timothy
from the seek-out-higher-ground dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Using computations on the massive near-global SRTM surface model from NASA, this map lets you query watersheds, interactively set the sea-level and flood the world (North America at 500m increase in sea-level), or play around with river thresholds on a global or regional scale (computed rivers around NYC/NJ). It can be used to get an understanding of the watersheds and water flow paths in your local neighborhood; do you know where rain (or pollutants) that falls in your backyard end up? The map is freely available to the public."
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New Interactive Map For Understanding Global Flood Risks

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  • by dohzer (867770) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:47AM (#46321613) Homepage
    Why not go the whole hog and allow for a FALL in sea-level by enabling negative values? Surely we have the necessary sea-floor maps and people who think climate change is running the other way.
    • I do not have the link right now but I remember there *was* an interactive map from NASA that allows user to input the sea-level (either hike or lower the sea/river/lake-level ) and see the changes appear in seconds.

      I'll try to find that link (no guarantee), but if anyone has that link as well, mind sharing it with us ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SeeSchloss (886510)
      The sea-floor elevation maps are vastly less precise (because you can't just use a radar from satellite to measure sea-floor).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:20AM (#46321711)

      Why not go the whole hog and allow for a FALL in sea-level by enabling negative values? Surely we have the necessary sea-floor maps and people who think climate change is running the other way.

      Well, that would actually make more sense than the 500m that the link points to. If all ice in both the south pole and Greenland melts the sea-level will rise with about 80m. To get above 100m we will need to import water from another planet.
      The range that would be of interest would be somewhere between -100 to 100m for showing everything from a new ice age to an ice-free planet.
      I guess even lower than -100m is still theoretically possible. 500m is just retarded scaremongering that undermines their credibility.

      • by polar red (215081)

        not necessarily : if you heat water, it expands. So after all ice has been melted, the water will continue to rise.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "To get above 100m we will need to import water from another planet."

        Did you not read the text of the HR4021 that congress is looking to pass? It's the Sol System Free water trade agreement.

      • by rossdee (243626)

        "If all ice in both the south pole and Greenland melts the sea-level will rise with about 80m. To get above 100m we will need to import water from another planet."

        Water is just an oxide of Hydrogen
        There is still a lot of free O2 in the atmosphere
        Sp when we burn fossil hydrocarbons (oil, natural gas) we get more water in the atmosphere, and the oceans, as well as more CO2

      • "Well, that would actually make more sense than the 500m that the link points to."

        If you go to the home page of that site, and navigate to the sea-level-rise page with no url parameters specified [scalgo.com], it starts at 100m sea-level rise by default. The page linked here is exactly as it appears from simply clicking on the "raise seal level" link on the site.

        Further, I examined New York and Seattle closely, at current sea level and at 1m (the reasonable max we can expect by 2100 according to the IPCC). It made only minuscule changes around the fringes in each city.

        I should also note that th

    • by wcrowe (94389)

      Heretic!

    • Operation Mockingbird wants to inform you not to question the official story.

      You wouldn't want to end up like:

      Ken Saro Wiwa, Terrance Yeakey, Barry Seal, Michael Hastings, Dr. David Kelly....

  • by Njovich (553857) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:15AM (#46321701)

    So according to the map, Netherlands is already completely flooded with just millimetres of sea level rise. Somehow I think they forgot some factors.

    • by geogob (569250)

      No map or prediction can't tell you where there is going to be flooding or not. Even without sea level rise. This is espcially true with heavy human intervention, like in the Netherlands. You can simply identify regions at risk and attemp to evaluate the flooding probabilties.

      But is that really so surprising and unrealistic? It's not like floods are something unheard of in the Netherlands.

      • by geogob (569250)

        No map or prediction can tell your... (sorry for the poor proofreading. It's early -_-)

        • by geogob (569250)

          *you* (i give up - if at least beta had comment editing possibility... not even that.)

      • by mspohr (589790)

        "No map or prediction can't (sic) tell you where there is going to be flooding or not."

        I think the point is that, yes, a map can tell you where you are likely to have problems if the sea level rises. Like all science, it is not 100% accurate but it's much better than just sticking your head in the sand (and waiting for the water to rise).

        • by geogob (569250)

          I believe you missunderstood me or read only half of what I wrote - or I expressed myself poorly (or both). Your are basically saying the same thing as I do! A map can't tell you where a flooding will occure for sure, but you can say where the probability a flood will occur are higher, especially in the context of sea level rise. Combining elevation information with current flooding probability maps is a brilland idea to extrapolate the potential effects of sea level rise.

          My comment was in response to the n

    • by Alsn (911813) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:37AM (#46321755)
      The map does not seem to take into account artificial means of holding back the ocean(dikes, for example). The Netherlands are in fact below sea level(about 25% of it according to wikipedia) so in that context, the map makes perfect sense.
      • This map is very useful for countries/regions without any protection against the sea. In the Netherlands, far better maps are available anyway, which take all the major (and minor) dikes and protections into account.

        In the Netherlands, the height of literally every square meter is mapped already (probably because the Dutch built the land themselves).
        Here's a more detailed map of the Netherlands, with all the major dikes on it: http://www.floodsite.net/junio... [floodsite.net]
        You can enter any postcode (zipcode) and get the

    • The default is 10 m sea rise, shown to illustrate what will happen. Change it back to zero and it will go away.

      • by Sique (173459)
        No, it doesn't, because in fact, the coastal regions of the Netherlands would be flooded by today's sea levels, if it wasn't for the dikes and constant pumping.
  • Shite, that map is scary - if the water raises 1 mm, the fjord where I grew up will be flooded! All that water, covered by 1mm water ...

  • by fremsley471 (792813) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:45AM (#46321767)

    Best hydrology resource I've seen online, sorry to be so positive.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Best hydrology resource I've seen online, sorry to be so positive.

      Wow, I never realized that the state of hydrology resources online was so bad.

  • Balderdash! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:18AM (#46321839) Journal
    If we start taking this sort of alarmist garbage seriously, my beachfront condo might get reassigned into a higher-risk flood zone, potentially increasing my insurance payments to something vaguely resembling actual cost! Then, if it should happen to flood for a third time this decade, I'll have to make do with less taxpayer money to rebuild it. How is that fair?

    (In case it wasn't abundantly obvious, I don't actually espouse that point of view; but there's a reason why flood-estimate maps are Big Political Business at least in the US: because stuff getting flooded happens approximately all the time, we have the 'National Flood Insurance Program [fema.gov]'. Your level of estimated risk governs your premiums; but not your payout in the event of an incident, so people are even less happy than usual to hear from Mr. Pessimism, when it comes time to redraw the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, regardless of his accuracy.

    Luckily, with a suitable understanding of the political process and access to a few lawyers and engineers, it is frequently possible to evade such heinous miscarriages of justice as 'being classified as high risk just because your property has a recent history of flooding' and the like.
    • by Xyrus (755017)

      If we start taking this sort of alarmist garbage seriously...

      This resource has nothing to do with "alarmist garbage". Its simply a tool that you can use to see what different levels of sea level rise does to the the planet. For example, you can set the map to 500m of sea level rise, which is well beyond what is physically possible.

      That being said, insurance companies are one of the larger consumers of climatological information. And yes, if your inundation rate has gone up ten fold as compared to what it was 30 years ago (REGARDLESS of the cause), then your insurance

    • by mspohr (589790)

      "Luckily, with a suitable understanding of the political process and access to a few lawyers and engineers, it is frequently possible to evade such heinous miscarriages of justice as 'being classified as high risk just because your property has a recent history of flooding' and the like."
      (I assume that you are being sarcastic with this statement... it not, we have a serious problem.)

      Insurance companies are "reality based" and don't subscribe to the climate denial theories. The US govt has been subsidizing f

      • I was being sarcastic; but yes, getting property reclassified into lower-risk zones in order to score ultra-cheap insurance (financed by the taxpaying suckers; because the flood insurance plan is utterly broke) is something you can do with a suitably skilled team of flimflam artists, and it's apparently quite cost effective for more expensive developments.
    • by hendrips (2722525)

      Everything you say is completely correct. However, I'd point out that it can actually be a bad thing for the property owners when this type of political maneuvering makes flood prone homeowners ineligible for federal flood insurance because they lie outside of the federally defined flood zones entirely. When Nashville, TN was flooded in 2010, it came out that some of the flooded homeowners had attempted to purchase flood insurance beforehand, but had been told that they couldn't purchase or didn't need in

      • You aren't ineligible for flood insurance because your property isn't in a federally defined flood zone, other than some areas where the risk has not been analyzed ALL areas are defined as either high risk or low to moderate risk. There is no such thing as a "no-risk zone". If you want to purchase flood insurance for your home you can.
  • It shows, all being similar, would be the coastline if the water somewhat magically rises so much in a calm way, as in what causes the water rises is an isolated event that only happen in Antarctica and Greenland, that causes the ice melt, global sea rise and thats it. But will be process that will be happening in all the world, sometimes in violent ways, that will cause floods (even in places far from the coast), droughs, high winds events, extreme heath (and cold), probably in a scale far bigger than we'v

  • Coastal regions are frequently composed of sediments; if sea levels rise, they rise along with it. Many low-lying islands work the same way. You cannot predict the effects of sea level rise on most coastal regions by taking a height map and adjusting the sea level.

    Even more stupid is the fact that they "model" sea level rise of up to 500m. The maximum sea level rise that is possible from melting all of the earth's ice is about 80m. But no matter how hot it gets, a complete melting of Greenland and Antartica

  • If all the ice covering Antarctica, Greenland, and all the glaciers around the world were to melt, sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). I've seen numbers in this range from several different sources, e.g. Nat Geo says 216 ft.

    Bad, sure. But 500m is not even in the bounds of reality.

  • This is great! And I'm not being facetious. I've wanted a good interactive watershed map for a long time. I probably missed my calling and should have been a hydrologist.

  • What it tells you is the part that is certain: that if sea level rises by X, places that are less than X above mean high tide will be under water -- once for places with diurnal tides and twice for places with semi-diurnal tides. Flooding is much more complex than that.

    Natural disasters are never actually "natural". It is human behavior that turns what would otherwise be just a natural phenomenon like an earthquake or flood into a "disaster". So changes in flood risk will occur where human engineering and

  • Am I missing something, or have they missed the Great Basin? It seems they depict the Columbia River watershed abutting the Colorado River watershed and they both appear to go all the way to the base of the Sierras.

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