Sea-Level Rise

Building For Sea-Level Rise -- Without Rules

Nov 15, 2013
Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department

  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.

Kenny Malone / WLRN

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.

Listen to it here:


The folks in the Bahamas hamlet of Dunmore Town seem blissfully unaware of sea level rise. One resort hotel operator I called in Dunmore, which sits on Harbour Island, dismissed it altogether.

“I was just down at our beachside bar,” she said. “I didn’t notice the sea level rising.” (Yes, she was serious.)

Outdated Miami Canals Too Weak For Sea-Level Rise

Nov 14, 2013
Balthazira / Flickr Creative Commons

  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.

Underwater Real Estate

Nov 14, 2013


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.

Florida Department of Transportation

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.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Standing at the water’s edge on Florida International University's Biscayne Bay campus, Nicholas Ogle shows a crowd of teenagers what looks like a giant, rotten green bean.

“We don’t want any mushiness anywhere, especially at the top,” he says, then chucks the specimen to the side.

What To Make Of All Those Sea-Level Rise Projections

Nov 13, 2013

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.

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.