Manhattan has served Hollywood as a stage for alien attacks, giant gorilla invasions, and even the dire effects of global warming (see: The Day After Tomorrow). But scientists worry that unlike building-scaling apes, large storm waves crashing into the city may indeed become a reality in the near future. A recent study (pdf) estimated that at the current rate of global warming, Manhattan will face a sea level rise of 2 feet or more by 2080.
The Museum of Modern Art's current exhibition "Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront" features ideas on how to stop lower Manhattan and other low-lying parts of New York City from going under when the sea surges during a big storm. Five teams of architects divvied up the city's most flood-prone areas and suggested ecologically friendly ways to protect them.
This map shows the areas of lower Manhattan (top center-right), Brooklyn, and New Jersey that would be swamped if a hurricane hit the region. Areas in dark green would flood during a relatively weak Category 1 storm, with light green, orange, and red designating flood zones for Category 2, 3, and 4 storms (the dark gray, inland areas would not be inundated).
All text by Smriti Rao; image by Palisade Bay Team: Guy Nordenson and Associates, Catherine Seavitt Studio, Architecture Research Office.