PolitiFact: Climate change will not sink the central US in 30 years, as Facebook post shows

IF YOUR TIME IS SHORT

  • The image was created by a blogger to see if the Mediterranean Sea could fit in the U.S.
  • It was not intended as a prediction or depiction of what the U.S. could look like in 30 years due to climate change. But it has been used on social media to make that claim.

See the sources for this fact-check


The equivalent of the Mediterranean Sea is not expected to flood the middle of the United States in the year 2030 if nothing is done about climate change, despite a map saying it could.

Facebook users shared an image of the U.S. with the Mediterranean Sea and parts of Europe superimposed on top of it. One user wrote this caption: “Scientists say this map represents the US in 30 years if we don’t reverse climate change. Could one of those scientists please explain how water can cover the Rockies, the Ozarks and the Blue Ridge Mountains and yet the Gulf coast is still high and dry at 1Ft above sea level?”

The map has renamed some of the areas such as “The Confederate Sea,” “Oklahoma Island,” and the “Sea of California.” Most of the southern U.S. is not underwater in this image, including Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, which are along the Gulf Coast.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about PolitiFacts partnership with Facebook.)

The image was not created by any scientists trying to show how climate change would impact the topography of the U.S. This map was created by a blogger to demonstrate the size of the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding areas compared with the U.S.

The map was created by Bret Drager, who posted it to his tumblr page The Arcadian Ideal. In a direct message, Drager told PolitiFact that the map he created has nothing to do with climate change. Drager has an interest in cartography and wanted to create a digitally altered map in order to see if the Mediterranean Sea could fit inside the U.S.

Drager wrote this in his 2015 post:

“I had the pleasure of taking a cruise around the Mediterranean a few years ago. My wife and I had such a great time exploring the historical places and artifacts and the life of strange cities. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if the Mediterranean wasn’t so far away?

“Well, I was examining maps and globes and realized that the Mediterranean Sea is at the same Latitude as the United States. If only it were possible to rotate the Mediterranean Sea around to our side of the planet? Would it fit? What effect would this have? What about the states… new coastlines in the middle of the country… new relationships… states torn in pieces?

“A couple of screen captures, lots of graphic manipulation and now we know. The Mediterranean Sea fits within the confines of the United States of America. In a way, it is pretty amazing how big the Mediterranean Sea is. We always think if the United States as a vast country, more than 3000 miles from east coast to west coast. It used to be quite a task to traverse that distance. Amazingly, ancient mariners of the Mediterranean traversed similar vast areas of water for their commerce, and conquests.”

PolitiFact ruling

The Facebook post says an image with part of the U.S. underwater is what the U.S. will look like in 30 years due to climate change.

That’s wrong. The image is a manipulated graphic by a blogger with an interest in cartography. It is not associated with any scientific group studying climate change.

PolitiFact rates the claim False.


Sources

Author: Becca Schimmel, PolitiFact
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