Artist Takes Plunge in Depicting Extreme Sea Level Rise

Despite hearing a lot about how sea levels are rising because of global warming, it can be challenging to envision how they may alter the landscape in the not too distant future. An artist in London named Michael Pinsky set out to change that. In a public art project called “PLUNGE,” he placed low energy blue LED lights on three of the city's iconic monuments, including the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar and the Duke of York Column.

Artist Michael Pinsky's blue LED lights seen on the Seven Dials Sundial Pillar in London. Credit: PLUNGE.

Pinsky set the blue light rings at the height of projected sea level in the year 3012, when waters could be as high as 90 feet above current levels. As treehugger described the scenario used for the installation, “It is all conceptual, because no one really knows, so consider it an extreme example of what could happen if the UK (and the rest of the world) continues with a ‘business as usual’ emissions scenario, i.e.without changing anything they do today.”

The exhibit's website notes that the blue rings are intended to inspire people to imagine a city reshaped by higher sea levels. “Together, the Plunge monuments create an arc across central London, following the line of a future Thames that has swallowed much of the capital in its wake.”

There are artists working on communicating climate science in the United States as well. For example, journalist Eli Kintisch is working on curating an exhibit that focuses on the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events, which is slated to open in Cambridge, Mass. in late April.