Starting Nov. 7, the WLRN-Miami Herald News staff brought you feature coverage of the effects sea-level rise has on our coastal communities.
Reporting fellow Wilson Sayre produced an hour-long special including the past weeks' feature programming and previously unaired content. The program, "Rising Seas in South Florida," was hosted by WLRN vice-president of news Tom Hudson and aired at noon on Thursday, Nov. 14.
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.
This chart from NOAA shows the monthly mean sea level in Miami Beach. The data does not include the regular seasonal fluctuations due to coastal ocean temperatures, salinities, winds, atmospheric pressures, and ocean currents. The long-term trend lines are designed by NOAA to indicate a 95% confidence level of the trend.
The dream of South Florida real estate is beachside. The marquee properties along our beaches attract global attention and eye-popping prices. But as studies from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have found, sea levels in South Florida have risen about nine inches in the past century. Today's beachside may be the next century's underwater property.
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.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is no stranger to stirring up controversy. As the 50th anniversary of his uncle's assassination approaches, his previously secret diaries have brought forth more private revelations about him and his famous family.
But he may be more comfortable poking at the fossil fuel industry (which he calls “criminal”) while also acting as a green technology entrepreneur.
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.
Click the play button above to hear the radio version of this post by business reporter Karen Rundlet
Plenty of local realtors will describe South Florida’s housing market as recharged. The latest reading from the popular Case-Shiller Index showed sales of single-family homes up 13.5 percent from a year ago in August.
There is continued demand for waterfront properties, fueled in large part by international cash buyers from countries like Canada and Brazil. In Miami-Dade County, for instance, the category of luxury properties selling at price points above $600,000 and below $1 million, saw growth in sales of almost 68 percent.
However, the question remains. If you add the threat of rising sea levels to the real estate investment equation in South Florida, are rooms with an ocean view actually a terrible place to put your money?
Global warming has raised global sea level about 8 inches since 1880 while rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. In fact, a Climate Central analysis found that the odds of worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more for widespread areas of the U.S.
When it comes to climate change, one thing is certain: our oceans are rising. And South Florida is expected to be among the first regions on Earth to experience the impact. In fact, some initial preparations are already underway.