environment

A wave of high tides is expected to hit much of the East Coast this week. These special tides — king tides — occur a few times a year when the moon's orbit brings it close to the Earth.

But scientists say that lately, even normal tides throughout the year are pushing water higher up onto land. And that's causing headaches for people who live along coastlines.

As Bob Dylan might have put it, the tides, they are a changin'.

David Burdick/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National, state and local leaders recently gathered in South Florida to discuss climate change at the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit Program. Mike Boots, director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was the keynote speaker.

Boots is also chair of a new task force on climate preparedness. While he was here, he toured parts of South Florida to see firsthand what could be ground zero for issues like sea-level rise.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

What are the real threats of climate change to this region?

If you missed the total eclipse of the moon in April, you might have another chance: On Wednesday morning, the second of four lunar eclipses this year and next will occur.

Southeast Florida Regional Compact

Absorbing the material at the sixth annual Climate Leadership Summit was a lot like trying to drink from a fire hose. There was a lot of information, much of it technical, dense and very detailed.

The two-day event was a series of expert deep dives into hydrology and re-insurance and risk management.

If there is an iconic bird for the Florida Keys, the Key West quail-dove is it. The bird was named, and painted, by John James Audubon during his 1832 visit to the island chain.

"I have taken upon myself to name this species the Key West pigeon, and offer it as a tribute to the generous inhabitants of that island, who favoured me with their friendship," Audubon wrote in his journal.

Arianna Prothero / WLRN

Another King Tide will wash over South Florida on Oct. 9.

That’s the alignment of the Earth, sun and moon in a way that gives us the highest tides of the year. And this one will bring an opportunity for local students who are really serious about climate change and sea-level rise to glimpse and document coastal Florida’s possible future.

Sea Turtle Travels Cross Country By FedEx

Sep 25, 2014
Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

  How long does it take a sea turtle to travel from the Florida Keys to southern California?

Only a few hours when it travels by FedEx. That's what Sapphire, a loggerhead sea turtle, is doing today on a journey from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon to The Living Coast Discovery Center near San Diego.

The turtle has been at the Middle Keys rehab center for 16 months and cannot be released back to the wild.

NOAA

"Maybe it just needs a little love," said Peanuts character Charlie Brown in describing his tiny Christmas tree with branches so fragile a single ornament weighs them to the ground.

Perhaps the same could be said of distressed coral.

Federal scientists believe that a spindly structure resembling an underwater Charlie Brown tree could play a huge role in saving rare coral damaged by the PortMiami deep-dredge project.

The People's Climate March Takes Miami

Sep 22, 2014
Lisann Ramos

The People’s Climate March Sunday included more than 2,000 events in over 150 countries.  

In Miami, a group of about 100 people spent Sunday afternoon handing out T-shirts, putting on costumes and coloring posters at the Freedom Tower. Many of those posters focused on the effects of sea-level rise.

Jonathan Ullman works with the Sierra Club, one of the organizers of Miami’s march.

USGS

  Late-summer waters off the Florida Keys are two degrees hotter than a century ago, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The report compares two periods of summer-month water temperature: historic data from lighthouse keeper records from the late 1800s and three decades of recent temperature data.

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