The Inconvenient Tour Day 2
Welcome to another installment of The Inconvenient Tour, a multi-part series in which we give you the best destinations that the planet’s changing climate will soon render uninhabitable in a dramatic merging with the sea. Today’s fear mongering brings you the top five tourist attractions threatened by global warming, whether that be due to the rising water, melting ice, or a recent hastening of the shifting sands of time.
1. Chinguetti Mosque, Mauritania
Like a ninja’s investment portfolio, climate change’s deadly threats have diversified. Chinguetti Mosque was once one of Islam’s seven holy cities and an important stop on the trade routes across the Sahara desert. Thought to be high enough and definitely dry enough that the rising ocean wouldn’t threaten the Mosque, Chinguetti has instead experienced flash floods, extreme temperatures and rapid shifting of the sand dunes surrounding the city.
Chinguetti Mosque has been threatened by these catastrophic floods and sandstorms, but also by more subtle threats like changing rainfall patterns and soil erosion, which causes vegetation loss and threatens the foundation of the building. Still, the mosque has never closed; its minaret is thought to be the second oldest tower in continual use in the Muslim world.
2. Scott’s Hut, Antarctica
Antarctica may be shedding its icy demeanor and contributing to sea level rise soon enough, but at the moment, changing weather patterns are causing the area around “Scott’s Hut” on the north shore of Cape Evans to accumulate massive, unprecedented amounts of snow.
Not exactly the most popular tourist trap in town, the Antarctic lodge is a part of Antarctic history and lore. Built in 1911 (and insulated with seaweed) this real-life Fortress of Solitude is in almost identical condition to the day that Robert Falcon Scott and his crew departed on their race to the South Pole against Norwegian Roald Amundson (they lost the race, perishing en route).
Tins of butter, jam and perfectly preserved seal blubber adorn the shelves; socks still hang on laundry lines around camp. In fact, the hut has been so well preserved by the extreme cold that it is now something of a time capsule to early 20th century expeditions. Scientific and weather equipment installed at the lodge also contain data can also be used to compare the climates patterns over the centuries.
3. Ladakh, India
Leh Old Town is one of the few urban centers to be built by the primarily nomadic people that inhabited the formerly independent region of Ladakh in the previous centuries. Built on rocks at the base of the Himalayas, what remains of the historic buildings in this ancient city were found to be in poor condition in a 2004 inspection and the increased rainfall of recent decades accelerates the decay. Glacier melt-off from higher global temperatures also contributes to the unprecedented volume of water making its way through the city.
4. Herschel Island, Alaska
There may soon be a whole lot more water to kayak in near Herschel Island, in Alaska’s Yukon Terrirory. Herschel Island has been a center of whaling culture since the Thule culture first wrapped a wood frame in seal skin and paddled out in search of the largest prey in the sea. Now, fierce storms fueled by warmer oceans batter the island each fall and damage the historic buildings. At the current rate of sea level rise, most of the island will be underwater by the end of the century.
The quickly eroding coastline composed of salt, sand and clay accelerates that process. There are no trees on Herschel Island and a minimum of root systems. The land undulates and changes elevation with the heating and cooling of the seasons, but recently there has been more heating than cooling and the melting permafrost threatens to change the entire ecosystem.
5. Kilwa, Tanzania
The words “flood-plane” never crossed the mind of the builders, when they constructed the stone structures in Kilwa, Tanzania an arms length from the sea. Then again, they couldn’t foresee rising ocean levels rapidly pulling the coast into the sea and sneaking up on their castles and stone buildings.
With trading influences from 5 continents, this historic Tanzania town has been a major stop on trade routes throughout recorded history and is now in danger of sloughing off into the water.
Know of more attractions threatened by global warming? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org