More greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere means higher temperatures on Earth. As a result, frozen surfaces melt and bodies of water expand — the main drivers of sea-level rise. In the 20th century alone, it is estimated that seas and oceans have risen by an average of 11-16 cm. How can this phenomenon affect our coastal populations, now and in the coming years?
To answer this question, researchers Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss created an algorithm (aka CoastalDEM) which measures land exposure to extreme water levels. Combined with population distribution data, they could estimate the number of humans at flood risk due to sea-level rise, today and by the year 2100 under different GHG emissions scenarios.
Based on their study, I designed the visuals below so we can compare the number of people at coastal flood risk per country today (plain color), in 2100 under a moderate GHG emissions scenario (dots), and in 2100 and a scenario with high emissions resulting in the melting of antarctic ice (white). Note that these numbers are given on a logarithmic scale.
To design these infographics I first gathered thoughts on paper, then explored data in Excel and used tidyverse functions in R to generate vector elements. I customized the graphics in Illustrator and styled them in Photoshop using layer blending, effects, and masking.