South Florida and Sea Level Rise – A Slow Motion Catastrophe
November 12, 2014
I got to thinking about this after a group of students contacted me from Florida International University. They had been out making observations of the “King Tide” event on October 9, something that happens annually, when the moon has its closest and most powerful alignment with the earth, and tidal forces are strongly activated.
The students wanted to know more about sea level rise, and its impact on their area – Sea Level 101.
I told them, among other things, if they had not read Jeff Goodell’s Rolling Stone piece “Goodbye Miami”, they should do so now.
That prompted me to give Jeff a call, and do a little digging. What emerged is, this is not a regional problem – the management of coastal areas affected by sea level rise and flooding will require a national dialogue. Think, New Orleans, after Katrina – times 50.
I found myself telling people how, our image of sea level rise is most often the towering waves washing thru the city, like in sci-fi movies of the past. In reality, the process will be less like the Deluge and more like water torture – drip by drip, millimeter by millimeter – as water systems, real estate, infrastructure, and habitations near the coast are, bit by bit, nibbled away year after yeat – occasionally punctuated by climate-enhanced and sea-level-pumped storm systems, that will make us pine for the simpler days of Superstorm Sandy.
Here again is part of the interview with Jeff: