sea level rise

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

For decades, height limits have been a third rail in development discussions in the Florida Keys — nobody wanted to go near them. But more frequent flooding, the prospect of sea level rise and higher insurance rates are all leading to one conclusion in the low-lying island chain — build up.

Key West voters agreed to raise height limits on the island by up to 4 feet back in 2014. Now Monroe County is considering a similar measure. That would apply in unincorporated parts of the county, like Key Largo and the Lower Keys.

Patrick Ferrell / Miami Herald

When it comes to the future of greater Miami, what worries you most? And what is the region doing well?

 

Kate Stein / WLRN

If you scoop a glassful of water from the heart of the Everglades, that water is as pure and clear as the water that flows from your tap.

That’s because chances are good your tap water comes from the Everglades.

One in three Floridians -- more than eight million of us -- gets drinking water from the Biscayne Aquifer a few feet below the southeastern Everglades. The ecosystem acts as a natural filter, removing excess nutrients and keeping out seawater.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Let’s start with what we’re losing: 

One of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, from sawgrass to cypress trees, apple snails to alligators. The historic home of Florida’s Miccosukee and Seminole tribes. A national park.

The ecosystem that ensures fresh drinking water for more than 8 million Floridians.

Everglades advocate Marjory Stoneman Douglas talked about all this in an interview in 1983.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Five, 15 or 50 years from now, what’s the future of Miami and its metro area?

At times, it looks traffic-jammed, Zika-infected, unaffordable and drowning under rapidly rising seas.

But if the region's trio of chief resiliency officers have their way -- maybe not.

Harvard University wants to study impacts of sea level rise in Southwest Florida-- Collier County, in particular. This was proposed during a climate change meeting at Florida Gulf Coast University on Monday. 

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

The federal government should do more to help local governments prepare for climate change, according to a report released Thursday.

 

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

King tides caused widespread flooding throughout South Florida in October and November. From Key West to West Palm Beach, pedestrians waded through streets and drivers moved their cars from massive parking lot puddles.

 

But December’s king tides? They’ve been going on this week and flooding has been minimal. That's because calmer weather has kept high tides down in December, compared with earlier this year.

 

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

  Between air conditioning, lights and appliances, buildings consume a lot of energy. That high energy consumption requires high energy production --  from sources like coal and oil, which contribute to global warming and sea-level rise.

 

All of which threatens the future livability of Miami-Dade County. 

 

Kate Stein / WLRN

Miami Beach officials led a tour of the city's resiliency projects on Monday, showing off elevated streets, higher seawalls and three pump stations -- among other measures --  that they say will help with flood control. But some business owners on the tour said  that even with these steps they've still experienced flooding in recent weeks.

Scott Fraser / City of Key West

When it comes to sea level rise, Key West is pretty much as vulnerable as it gets. The island's average elevation is less than five feet above sea level. A tide gauge at Key West Harbor tracks the steady rise of the sea over the last century.

Florida Institute for Health Innovation

Floridians with chronic diseases like asthma and COPD may have one more problem to worry about: sea-level rise.

The Health And Sea Level Rise: Impacts on South Florida report released Monday maps out sea-level rise projections alongside health data from Palm Beach County down to the Keys—and there were some surprises about who’s at risk.

Epidemiology Congress of the Americas

Climate change isn’t just an environmental problem. If you ask Michael McGeehin, climate change is a health crisis.

McGeehin is an epidemiologist who spent more than 30 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He developed the CDC’s Climate Change Program.

McGeehin was recently in Miami for an international epidemiology conference. And he spoke with Health News Florida about how public health is threatened by changing rain patterns, sea level rise and heat waves:

Laura Coburn/WLRN

Dr. Harold Wanless researches climate change as chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. He documents coastal erosion caused by hurricane damage – and the impact of sea-level rise.  

Wanless calls South Florida the poster child for climate change.

Millions of years of Florida's history are lying on a table in Paulette McFadden's office at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It's in long metal tubes containing several feet of sediment from Horseshoe Beach, a community on Florida's Gulf coast.

"This core," McFadden says, "actually spans about 30 million years."

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