Many children know the Godzilla-esque joy of setting up cereal box skyscrapers, then rampaging through the doomed mini-metropolis. But adults require more sophisticated simulations of the end times.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers just such a toy, er tool, for studying the effects of climate change while simulating the drowning of major metropolitan areas.
The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts simulator consist of a map of the U.S. and a control panel. A slider allows the user to explore a range of sea level changes from the current sea level up to six feet of increased depth.
As the depth increases, the blue of the sea eats away at the shoreline. Presumably, millions of Sims then run for higher ground. Photos of historic landmarks dot the map and also show the effects of rising seas. With just a click of the mouse Galveston, Texas' History Museum becomes a marine park and Tampa, Florida looks like Venice.
Besides playing God, the simulator created by NOAA provides coastal managers and scientists a means of forecasting what sea level rise will mean for the coastlines of America.
Buttons in the simulations control panel allow planners to look at how sea level rise will affect communities based on socioeconomic factors. Another button switches the view to show how marshes and coastal wetlands will be inundated.
Currently Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Florida and Georgia are included in the simulations. NOAA plans to expand the program to include the East Coast and California.
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Northern Miami after a six foot rise in sea levels. (NOAA)