Images show Charleston underwater within 80 years

Images show Charleston underwater within 80 years
Image 2 of Charleston underwater in 2100
Image 2 of Charleston underwater in 2100

Scientists said it could happen because of rising sea levels.

Live 5 News dove into the images to find out if they are authentic, and if they are an accurate representation of the Holy City's future.

"It shows the absolute worst possible case," NOAA Coastal Hazards Specialist Doug Marcy said.

Marcy doesn't rule out that this image couldn't be realistic in the future, but it may be an extreme scenario and something we should take a look at.

"It's probably a low probability but if you're planning for things like critical infrastructure or building something to last a long time you may want to look at an extreme scenario," Marcy said.

"It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you're on so to speak, sea level rise is just going to make the existing problems worse," Marcy said."We have bad rain events, we have seen hurricanes here. Charleston is a very resilient city and we've had hurricanes and earthquakes. But sea level is going to creep up over a long period of time. These events are going to get worse and worse. We're starting to see those sort of more frequent flood events."

Marcy said there are six different scenarios for how rising sea levels could impact Charleston.

"They range from an extrapolation of the current rate, all the way to the extreme which in Charleston is around 12 feet by 2100. The middle part of that range is the most probable which takes into account three climate scenarios, are we going to reduce green house emissions," said Marcy.

He said it's also uncertain because of the ice sheets that have been breaking off from Antarctica.

Marcy said in Charleston we should expect to be somewhere in the middle spectrum from extreme to low sea level rises.

"I know the City of Charleston sea level rise strategy is looking at 2.5 feet by 2065. A lot of communities aren't looking out at 2100 they're looking at the next 50 years or so," said Marcy.

Marcy said the area that will see an impact is on the peninsula.

"I know this area would be impacted," she said."Including a lot of areas around the fringes of the peninsula and the Ashley River side where we filled a lot of the original shoreline and places where it floods all the time like Wentworth and Lockwood."

Marcy said thinking long-term, it could have an impact on homes on the peninsula near the water, and in the future, utilities going to those homes could have issues.

"I would be worried yes if I had serious real estate investment I want to keep in the family," said Marcy. "It's the homes that are built right on the street level. The higher the first floor the more room you have. The problem is the access to those homes because the streets will be flooded."

The City of Charleston is getting public output on a project to replace and rise the sea wall along the battery as part of an effort to try and stop flooding.

All part of a plan to try and prevent downtown from flooding.

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