Another day, another set of bewildering climate figures. Today, key climate scientists withdrew their predictions. of a metre sea-level rise by 2100. Other scientists meanwhile claimed the 1m figure was way too conservative anyway. They predict anything up to 2m sea level rises over the next century.

It’s difficult to keep track of all this shifting research. And, in the midst of this reporting, there is one consistent but bewildering assumption made of us: that we understand what a one metre sea level rise means in reality.

A “1 metre sea level rise” is in the same domain as “1 ton of carbon” or “£1 billion”. That is, it’s meaningless without context or some link to our everyday lives.

So, in this diagram they have tried to sum up all the current research on sea level rises. What will happen, when it will happen, and where the sea water is coming from. You can see the data and sources in this spreadsheet.

In an effort to make the information easier to relate to, McCandles has also thrown in which key cities around the world will be most affected by the rises.

The key sources are Sea Level Rise Explorer , studies from the Potsdam Institute (PDF) and reports from the IPCC Report (2001 – the most conservative one).

Information Is Beautiful

This chart is adapted from the book of data visualisation and infographics, Information Is Beautiful (HarperCollins 2009). It’s available to buy on In the US, the book is called The Visual Miscellaneum.

For more charts and visualisations, visit