South Florida: Canary in the Sea Level Rise Coal Mine

Have a look at this new video from Peter Sinclair:

Peter has an interview with Jeff Goodell, contributing editor of Rolling Stone, which you will want to see. They talk about the political aspect of sea level rise in Florida.

More about sea level rise here.

More like this

Can't view the video but bet Florida does something like NC.
Pass a law stating you can't blame Global warming on rising water...problem solved!!

Given what we know - as scientific fact - is happening and happening faster than models predict - I hate to think about what's coming and what it is going to mean for so many in terms of human suffering.

By Astrostevo (not verified) on 12 Nov 2014 #permalink

@1. L.Long : About that solution .. well, there will be a solution there alright but of the liquid variety and impersonating ostriches will turn not-such-a-great idea.

(Graveyard humour.)

By Astrostevo (not verified) on 12 Nov 2014 #permalink

How does a state pass a rule that a state employee cannot say or write the phrases "climate change" or "global warming" without writing those phrases itself?

By Richard Chapman (not verified) on 12 Nov 2014 #permalink

L.Long@1: That approach won't help even in the short term. Miami itself is on a ridge which rises to about 7 m above sea level, but most of the surrounding developed land is lower in elevation (1-2 m, typically), and that bedrock is porous limestone which will soak up additional seawater. So even if we do a linear extrapolation of observed sea level rise (which even NC allows), Miami is still doomed--it would just be about 100 years from now, instead of 30 or less. The flood control systems that were installed at great trouble and expense for a world where sea levels weren't rising will increasingly be a source of flooding in the region. That's what's already happening during exceptionally high tides.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Nov 2014 #permalink

Miami may be pre-doomed if it ever takes a direct hit by one of those new fangled super hurricanes at high tide.

This video ( popped up in the upper left hand corner when the current video ended on my first viewing. It covers the subject in a little more depth and breaks a few taboos.

Apparently I spoke too soon about Jeb Bush's ban on speaking the words "Climate Change" in his state. Maybe he's being ignored, or aggressively being challenged.
At the Fifth Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit, Broward County Mayor, Christine Jacobs can be seen discussing climate change in front of a screen plastered with logo of Florida next to the words "Southeast Florida Regional Compact CLIMATE CHANGE" (19:40).

By Richard Chapman (not verified) on 12 Nov 2014 #permalink

I spent a portion of my childhood in Miami, specifically Key Biscayne. It is even more vulnerable than Miami because of its lower elevation and the fact that the island's substrate is sand. Most of the Miami mainland has an oolitic limestone substrate, still ridiculous low in elevation, but at least it's solid.

However, what really tugs at my heart is what will happen to the once great Everglades. Even without the rising sea level it was only a remnant of its former glory. Now the saltwater and mangrove habitat of Florida Bay is encroaching further inland into the River of Grass. The freshwater ecosystem will retract further north, but since it is bordered on its north by hundreds of thousands of acres of sugar cane fields it will be squeezed out of existence.

By JD Goodwin (not verified) on 12 Nov 2014 #permalink

Yes, in the absence of human interference, the Everglades would simply move north, though maybe at a higher pace than idea to preserve the ecosystem. Those cane farms are toast. Maybe they will move out and let the Everglades move in.

Oh, those cane fields are toast, alright, but I expect valiant attempts to save them. Big Sugar has a lot of pull in that part of Florida.

The other geographical feature that stops the Everglades from retreating northward is the cross-state canal system at Lake Okeechobee. As part of the flood control system, the Army Corps of Engineers built canals connecting the lake (which was originally a natural feature, but has been surrounded by levees) to rivers on either side: the Caloosahatchie to the west, and I don't recall the name of the one to the east. You can sail a boat from Fort Myers to Stuart (I think that's the city on the east end, but I'm reconstructing the map from memory) without encountering salt water, or at least you could when I lived in Florida.

The Everglades is actually a river, about 100 km wide and something like 150 km long. If the water flow is permanently (not just seasonally, as sometimes happens in the dry season) lost, you lose the ecosystem entirely.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 13 Nov 2014 #permalink

Isn't there a plant or project in place to remove some of that infrastructure around Okeechobee and in the Everglades generally?

Assuming that they don't want to abandon Miami about the only viable option would be to do what Galveston Texas did after the 1900 storm, they raise the city by jacking each building up and filling with dirt.

It would work well enough if we can get a handle on climate change. Failing that, Miami flooding will be the least of anyone's worries.

And where would they get the dirt? There is very little topsoil in the area, beyond what the landscapers install when they put in lawns. Nearby areas that do have some topsoil are as low-lying, or lower, as downtown Miami.

The other issue is drinking water. There is barely enough as it is, and the local sources are vulnerable to salt water intrusion. That might do for Miami even before the streets are underwater. No amount of added fill will help that problem.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 14 Nov 2014 #permalink