The Maldives

As the flattest country on Earth, the Republic of Maldives is extremely vulnerable to rising sea level and faces the very real possibility that the majority of its land area will be underwater by the end of this century. Today, the white sand beaches and extensive coral reefs of the Maldives' 1,190 islands draw more than 600,000 tourists annually.

  • Sea level rise is likely to worsen existing environmental stresses in the Maldives, such as periodic flooding from storm surge, and a scarcity of freshwater for drinking and other purposes.
  • Given mid–level scenarios for global warming emissions, the Maldives is projected to experience sea level rise on the order of 1.5 feet (half a meter)—and to lose some 77 percent of its land area—by around the year 2100.  If sea level were instead to rise by 3 feet (1 meter), the Maldives could be almost completely inundated by about 2085.
  • The Maldivian government has identified many potential strategies for adapting to rising seas, but is also considering relocating its people to a new homeland.

The Maldives from space