Miami-Dade County has recently worked out a $1.5 billion plan with the Environmental Protection Agency to fix its aging sewer system — an over-burdened network of pipes, pumps and plants that’s leaked a lot of sewage in the past years.
But a local environmental group says there’s a major piece missing from that agreement: climate-change planning in a consent decree.
It’s been more than half a century since flood-control structures such as dams and canals were constructed throughout Florida. Now, with the impact of sea-level rise on the horizon, many of these structures are becoming fragile barriers to keep floodwaters and tidal surge safely away.
Dr. Jayantha Obeysekera is in charge of assessing short- and long-term responses regarding sea-level rise for the South Florida Water Management District. He examines the canal system in Miami's Little River neighborhood, which separates the river from the ocean.
If not for its patchwork of different shades of asphalt, you would never imagine the stretch of State Road A1A along Fort Lauderdale Beach was all underwater a year ago.
Last November, Tropical Storm Sandy and small storms that followed washed out a four-block section of A1A, north of Sunrise Boulevard. Sandy wasn’t a big storm, so the uncharacteristic destruction it brought has been explained by sea-level rise, which can cause increasingly harmful storm surges.
Climate scientists largely agree that sea level is rising. The extent of the change is a far more complicated matter.
“Probably two feet. Three feet, possibly,” said David Enfield, a climatologist with the University of Miami and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. “As an extreme -- if for example we see an unexpected acceleration of the melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica, something else we’re not observing -- we could be seeing six feet by the end of the century.”
Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.
As water levels rise in the Everglades, are prolific pythons and their iguana cousins going to come slithering out, seeking higher ground and pushing out our local crocs? The very idea makes most of us want to relocate.
It turns out wildlife biologists and other scientists have been studying for the past few years what might happen to more than 20 Everglades species. One conclusion: Soon, we all may be scrambling for a higher perch.
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. Throw a brick off the top of the Empire State Building and the Peregrine will fall out of the sky faster.
The secret is the falcon’s ability to shape its body into an almost perfect teardrop, fine tuning its muscles and feathers according to the feel of the rushing wind. Navy scientists using radar have clocked them doing 240 miles per hour. Peregrine Falcons don’t do this for fun. They do it to survive.
Planktonportal is a new online citizen science project to engage the public’s help in identifying planktonic creature images collected by an underwater robotic camera.
Plankton is the basis of our ocean ecosystem. No plankton, no life in the ocean. By understanding the mechanisms underlying plankton distribution both locally and globally, we can better assess the health of the ocean and better manage this precious environment. And now we can all do it together!
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:22 pm
Lots of people think of fish as brain food. And there's good reason.
Many kinds of fish — think salmon, sardines, tuna — contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of polyunsaturated fat, which have been shown to fight inflammation and improve the function of our neurons.
For Fort Lauderdale high schooler Laura Herman, A is red. Q is purple. G is brown. Two is pink. Rap is salty. And techno is like sweet and sour sauce.
That’s because she has synesthesia, a perceptual condition where she combines two senses in four different ways (letter-color; sound-taste; time-space; and shape-color), which apparently is common among synesthetes.
Researchers have discovered the largest virus ever, and they've given it a terrifying name: Pandoravirus.
In mythology, opening Pandora's Box released evil into the world. But there's no need to panic. This new family of virus lives underwater and doesn't pose a major threat to human health.
"This is not going to cause any kind of widespread and acute illness or epidemic or anything," says Eugene Koonin, an evolutionary biologist at the National Institutes of Health who specializes in viruses.
If you've ever found yourself biting into a tangy sapote, or a lush mango, give a small thanks to fruit hunters.
Fruit hunters are an intrepid band of explorers, growers and researchers. For decades, they have introduced most of the fruit that we enjoy in South Florida. The area's climate is conducive to growing most of the tropical fruit from nearly all the world's continents. Fruit hunters will travel the lengths of the earth, as well as mining their own back yards, in search of the newest, rarest and tastiest plants.