If all the polar ice melted

The super typhoon Haiyan devastated Philippines. I experienced the super storm Sandy in the NYC area. During Sandy the sea level rose 12 ft (approximately 4 meters). During Haiyan the sea level rose 16 ft (approximately 5 meters).

12 ft rise in the sea level was enough to cause wide scale devastation. There is no need to explain the property damage. It was the visible face of the storm. The invisible face was the damage in the electrical infrastructure. Most of us did not know that the electrical transformers were below the sea level in our area. Nobody predicted that the sea water would get to these places but it did. Nobody predicted that 12 ft rise in the sea level would cause terrible problems in the sewage systems but it did.

In our area we have tunnels for trains and tunnels for cars. Some of these tunnels were filled with water. Can you imagine that? Now, I cannot imagine the scale of devastation in Phillipines after the super typhoon Haiyan. I pray for them and share their pain.

If 4 meter rise in the sea level causes this much pain and devastation can you imagine what would happen if the sea level rose 65 meters. That’s how much sea level would rise if all the polar ice melted.

National geographic has a map that shows which areas would be effected the most.


RS_Web_NA_15M_v3Most of the eastern seaboard of United States would be gone. Florida would disappear completely.

Most of Turkey would be safe but big parts of Ukraine and Russia would be devastated if the Caspian Sea is joined with the Black Sea.

Northern Europe would be completely flooded as well.

RS_Web_EU_8M_v3Philippines would almost disappear. Indonesia would be devastated. Northern part of China would be gone. East of India and Bengaldesh would be completely gone.


At the peak of the last ice age 20 thousand years ago the ocean levels were 120 meters lower than the current level. A huge amount of water was used in the formation of the polar ice sheets.  Chicago, New York and London were buried under ice. The ice sheets in North America were 2 miles thick.

20 thousand years ago it was easier for humans to cross waters between the continents because the sea level was 120 meters lower than its current level. It was easier to reach Australia. Asia and North America were connected by a land bridge.

So, if all ice melted today would the ocean levels be 120 meters higher? No. The answer is 65 meters higher than the current levels. The explanation is in timing. Earth entered a warm period starting 15 thousand years ago and since then a lot of water was released back to oceans. Also, once the weight of ice sheets were removed the North American and Eurasian continental masses were lifted on the liquid mantle.

About Suresh Emre

I have worked as a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory. I am a volunteer for the Renaissance Universal movement. My main goal is to inspire the reader to engage in Self-discovery and expansion of consciousness.
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