Fact Check-Map does not show how sea level rise will impact the U.S. in 30 years

Social media users have misattributed a map and falsely claimed that it shows how sea level rise due to climate change will impact the United States in 30 years. The image actually shows what the Mediterranean Sea looks like super-imposed onto a map of the United States.

One tweet on Oct. 26, which had over 22,000 likes and 10,000 shares by the time of publication and was likely intended as satire, has a caption that reads: “Scientists say this map represents the US in 30 years if we don’t reverse climate change.” (here).

Other examples are viewable (here), (here), (here), (here) and (here).

One user added in the comments: “Well they got everyone near coastline to believe this s*** 20-30 years ago, needed a new map to get the mid country folks concerned. Keep on firing up the fear machine.” Another said: “Trust science! Guess New Orleans is safe from flooding. Idiots are literally trying to divide the U.S. If hate can’t do it, they’ll just flood us apart.” (here)

A reverse image search revealed that the map was first published in a Tumblr post in Dec. 2015, with a headline that reads: “The Mediterranean Sea of America…” (here). The blog post details how the author fit the outline of the Mediterranean Sea into the United States.

The map was later featured in a blog post published by ‘Brilliant Maps’ and attributed to Bret Drager, author of “The Mediterranean Sea of America…” (

Brilliant Maps later tweeted the image in 2018, with the caption: “The Mediterranean sea [sic] overlaid onto the USA.” (here)

The outline of the Mediterranean Sea also matches the super-imposed sea in the widely-shared image, with the outline of Italy, Greece, and Turkey clearly visible.

Three billion people globally could be affected by a rise in sea level and as of 2014, 40% of the U.S. population lived near a coastline (here), (here).

In 2020, a new global sea level record was set, 91.3 mm (3.6 inches) above 1993 levels (here).


Satire. The map does not show how sea level rise will impact the United States. It shows the Mediterranean Sea super-imposed onto a map of the United States.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .