How long before Boston is underwater?

Five feet will take between 100 and 300 years. Twelve feet of water is the potential level in 2300 and 25 feet will occur centuries from now. Boston may not be completely submerged by 2100, but the city as we know it would cease to exist. Boston's low-income neighborhoods, where public housing projects were built in landfills, are particularly vulnerable to flooding.

By the end of the century, a large part of the Dorchester neighborhood, which alone would be the fourth largest city in Massachusetts, could be underwater. Last summer, the City of Boston, the Boston Harbor Association, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Society of Architects revealed to the winners of their urban design competition that they were “looking for design solutions that would imagine a beautiful, vibrant and resilient Boston that is ready for the end of conditions climatic conditions of the twentieth century and sea level rise. The final three designs, each focusing on a different type of site (a building, a neighborhood, and a portion of the city's infrastructure), show viewers the creative breadth that is already informing how Boston will prepare for a higher sea level in 2100. The University of Massachusetts in Boston and Woods Hole Group, an environmental and scientific consulting firm, had studied the possibility of building a massive port barrier similar to that in the lowlands of the Netherlands or the one across the River Thames in London.

And as climate change accelerates, Boston's rate of sea level rise is expected to triple, adding eight inches above 2000 levels by 2030, according to a report commissioned by the city. 100 years from now, at uncontrolled levels of pollution, it will be inevitable that all of the Fenway, the South End and the Seaport district, as well as parts of Dorchester, South Boston and downtown, except for a small island near the Common, will be submerged underwater. Douglas of UMass Boston and the Boston Harbor Association to create a simple interactive tool that exposes the risk of port flooding in different scenarios of sea level rise. The Boston City Government has a slide show with a bar graph that represents a 7-foot 4-inch rise in sea level by 2100 if carbon emissions around the world continue to rise.

As the map shows, such sea level rise would flood entire swaths of downtown Boston at high tide, including Back Bay, Fenway, South End, Seaport District, much of eastern Boston and parts of Dorchester. He then drove through a tunnel under the harbor to East Boston, where newcomers are moving while others remain at the top of the economic ladder. Cook took a visitor along Joe Moakley Park in South Boston, the large flat area off Old Harbor that wouldn't offer much defense for some subsidized housing that is vulnerable to rising sea levels. For an academic article on water levels in Boston Harbor, three scientists discovered the correspondence and measurements made as early as 1825 by Loammi Baldwin Jr.

Next to the bar is a drawing of former Boston Celtics basketball star Kevin Garnett, who is a few inches from the 7-foot-4 mark. The sea around Boston rose nine inches in the 20th century and is moving ever faster into the heart of the city.

Bryant Delosier
Bryant Delosier

Proud zombie buff. Wannabe pop culture specialist. Wannabe internet expert. Devoted bacon expert. Lifelong food enthusiast.