Every year, Orlando attracts countless visitors from all over the world who come to explore its manmade and natural attractions. It has earned the title of being the theme park capital of the world, making it a popular tourist destination.
Although Orlando is no stranger to getting waterlogged, being located in Florida, which is the most hurricane-prone state in the union, and bordering the most hurricane-prone part of the state, makes it even more susceptible to the impacts of hurricanes. Even without the added concern of sea-level rise, the city of Orlando must always be prepared for potential flooding and other hazards caused by hurricanes.
At first, the situation in Orlando might not seem dire. This is because, in contrast to many other parts of Florida, the city sits at an elevation of approximately 50 feet. Hence, a sea-level rise of 10 feet, which would pose a significant threat to Miami, would not even affect Orlando. However, it is predicted that Florida will experience a rise in sea levels of 1-2 feet in the near future. If the Thwaites Glacier were to break apart before the end of this decade, the state could potentially face a rise of up to 10 feet.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here. Florida’s future looks bleak as the effects of climate change continue to worsen. It’s projected that several centuries from now, the situation will be much more dire than it is today.
What happens if all the ice melts?
According to the USGS, glaciers hold approximately 99% of the world’s fresh water.
To put things into perspective, imagine all the fresh water in the world filling up a five-gallon bucket. Shockingly, the amount of potable water we have access to would only be equivalent to about two tablespoons.
According to climate scientists, the remaining ice holds the potential to cause a significant increase in sea levels. If all of it were to melt, the rise in sea level could reach up to 230 feet (70 meters). However, the current rate of polar ice loss indicates that this process would take several thousand years to occur.
If you think Florida’s highest inland points are safe from rising sea levels, think again. The beloved theme parks that attract millions of visitors every year, including Disney World and Universal Studios, would be completely submerged. Even the Amway Center, a popular indoor arena, would become a waterlogged ruin. The devastating effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and Florida is just one of many vulnerable areas that will suffer the consequences.
If the sea level rises by 100 feet, Orlando will undergo a significant transformation. The city will transform into a cluster of scattered islands with lagoons. The famous International Drive will resemble the canals of Venice, making it accessible only by boat. While this change may initially seem like a unique selling point for the city, it is crucial to note that Floridians are known for their resilience.
Orlando, along with almost every other part of Florida, would be submerged under water if the sea level rises to 230 feet.