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World Economic Forum


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Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Civics, Geography

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - South, Florida, Louisiana, Texas

These 11 Sinking Cities Could Disappear by 2100

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  • This article highlights 11 cities around the world that are under threat of sinking and disappearing due to sea level rise and groundwater pumping, including Houston, New Orleans, and Miami.
  • The article also mentions the cities of Venice, Lagos, Jakarta, Dhaka, Bangkok, Rotterdam, and Alexandria.
Teaching Tips


  • Students will learn that cities are sinking in many parts of the world.
  • The article links to many interesting articles about what governments are doing to help remedy the problem of sea level rise and sinking cities.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have an understanding of plate tectonics and the different causes of sea level rise.
  • The first link in the section on Bangkok does not work.


  • In pairs or small groups, students could focus on one of the cities from the article and read the linked articles to gain more insight into the situation. Students could present their findings to the class.
  • The article can be used as a starting point for students to research and develop solutions to climate issues related to the sinking of coastal cities.
Scientist Notes
Eleven Cities are under threat of disappearing. They are currently undergoing sinking from subsidence, shifting plate tectonics, and continuous groundwater extraction. The resource is valid to teach students about ways to take urgent climate action and to advocate for the reduction of extraction of groundwater and other activities causing sea levels to rise abruptly.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • SS.Geog1.b.m Interpret patterns in a variety of maps, charts, and graphs to display geographic information (contour, cartogram, population, natural resource, historical maps) and explain relationships among them.
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