A new study from a German research institute identifies urban areas most threatened by sea level rise and indicates that although sea level rise has been occurring for more than a century, it's not happening at a steady rate around the globe. This is due to regional variances in temperature, circulation, and ocean density.
Scientists from the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research identified cities like Sydney, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires as trouble zones. Low-lying South Florida was not mentioned as a special area of concern in the report titled, "A scaling approach to project regional sea level rise and its uncertainties"
New Scientist used the data to create an interactive map that allows readers to see how the scientists' findings predict sea level rise by the year 2100. Press "play" on the map and watch as oceans and seas turn a darker shade of blue, indicating a rise in centimeters. By this model, the water level off the coast of the Florida peninsula is projected to hit around 80 centimeters by 2100, which would be a bit above the "global average" of the upper 70 range.
New Scientist last year reported on a study that showed "sea level rise off the US east coast is accelerating up to four times faster than the global average." That report suggested the region is a "hotspot" in sea level rise.
For a more zeroed-in map of how climate change issues like sea level rise and storm surge could impact South Florida, and specifically, the Florida Keys, check out the Coastal Resilience Network's "Future Scenarios Map." The interactive feature allows you to track things like: how many people live in areas that are less than 10 meters in elevation (hint: a lot). Or, look at the ominous-sounding "multi-hazard mortality risk index." Bear in mind, of course, that these are all projections and The Nature Conservancy (which owns the map's website) states it is "a compilation of data merely for informational purposes."
Read more about what Coastal Resilience has to say about sea level rise in the Florida Keys.