Elevation Zero

 

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

WLRN-Miami Herald News presents a series of stories about the effects of sea-level rise. The project is called “Elevation Zero: Rising Seas In South Florida."

Click through the pages below to see our entire archive of Elevation Zero stories, or listen to these special one-hour programs aired during our week of sea-level rise coverage, Nov. 11-15, 2013:

MONDAY
The Sunshine Economy: Underwater Real Estate

TUESDAY
Alex Chadwick's "BURN: An Energy Journal"

WEDNESDAY
Elevation Zero town hall, hosted by WLRN's Tom Hudson

THURSDAY
Select Elevation Zero features: "Rising Seas In South Florida"

FRIDAY
The Florida Roundup: Sea-Level Rise Will Flood South Florida. Now What?

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Environment
2:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Scientist To Governor: Stop Spreading Doubt About Climate Change

Dr. Ben Kirtman is a University of Miami professor who sees the impact of climate change happening now in Miami Beach and other areas of South Florida.
Credit Carla Javier/WLRN

Gov. Rick Scott has been repeatedly quoted as saying "I'm not a scientist" when asked whether he believes in man-made climate change.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Delray Beach Residents Create A Rising Waters Task Force

Credit Jephie Bernard / WLRN

At a meeting earlier this week, a group of residents concerned about rising sea levels decided to name themselves Delray's Rising Waters Task Force. 

Their goal is to deal with the effects of climate change. They are still in the early stages of organizing themselves.

There were five members at the beginning of the meeting and seven joined, making it a total of 12, by the end. They are still looking for more residents to join.

Listen to their story here. 

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Explainer
4:43 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Listen: Does South Florida's Water Taste Funny?

Why does South Florida water taste funny? Or at least you think so.
Credit Cyndi Calhoun / Creative Commons/Flickr

How would you describe the flavor of water? The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said it "tends to be tasteless." But you probably didn't feel that way when you tried the tap water outside your hometown. Why does water taste so different within the U.S., even within your own state?

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Sea-Level Rise
7:46 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Study: Our Water Use Is A Major Cause Of Saltwater Intrusion

Both sea-level rise and our pumping of groundwater contribute to saltwater intrusion. Freshwater is less dense than saltwater and will float on top. But with sea-level rise, saltwater pushes in and seeps into the freshwater aquifer. With withdrawals of groundwater, we lower the level of freshwater so there's less of it keep saltwater out.
Credit US Geological Survey

A study finds that South Florida maybe can’t blame the rest of the world for saltwater seeping into the groundwater, also called saltwater intrusion. 

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Environment
8:05 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Despite White House Warnings, Florida Legislators Skeptical About Climate Change

The White House is painting a dire picture for every region in the nation, especially South Florida, if action isn't taken to combat climate change.
Credit David Burdick / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The White House is painting a dire picture for every region in the nation, especially South Florida, if action isn't taken to combat climate change. Some states' Republican lawmakers still are not buying it.

Things won't be pretty in South Florida if the latest White House climate assessment is right. You can expect intensified storms and a sea that will keep steadily encroaching on your way of life slowly nipping away at that shore your toes used to trust.

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The Florida Roundup
11:29 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Education Bills Highlight Differences Among Republican Leadership

House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel), left, shakes hands with Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville).
Credit Florida House of Representatives

State Senate President Don Gaetz likes to introduce House Speaker Will Weatherford as the “taller, smarter, better-looking version of the Weatherford-Gaetz” duo. Their alliance has led to the quick passage of legislation like last year's ethics reform package and this year's sex offender bills. But on several education bills, the two diverge.

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Sea-Level Rise
4:57 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Rhode Island Senator Cruises South Florida's Rising Seas

Rising seas is the issue driving Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to tour southern coastal states.
Credit Creative Commons / Flickr user baldeaglebluff

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will finish his tour of four southern coastal states with a final stop in South Florida Friday.

He has been talking with scientists, residents and business owners during his week-long trip to discuss rising seas. It’s part of an effort to get congress more engaged with the issue by relaying stories from the people and towns dealing with the issue.

The senator will be in South Florida Friday and will moderate the South Florida Climate Action rally in Pinecrest.

Hear the full story below:

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Desalination
8:17 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Do You Know Where Your Water Comes From?

Florida desalinates the most water in the United States. Above is the water treatment plant in North Miami Beach, the first city in Miami-Dade to process salty water from the Floridan Aquifer.
Credit Elaine Chen

This story originally ran on March 13, 2014.

 

If you mention “desalination,” most people probably think you mean taking salt out of seawater, and they probably think you’re talking about what happens in desert nations in the Middle East.

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Rising Seas
11:15 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Environmentalists Speak At Bill Nelson's Miami Beach Sea-Level Rise Hearing

A packed Miami Beach City Hall during the hearing on sea level rise.
Credit Lisann Ramos

Miami Beach City Hall was at capacity this Earth Day when Sen. Bill Nelson held a field hearing on sea-level rise. 

The hearing attracted environmentalists from across South Florida and the country. 

The witnesses who spoke on account of sea-level rise included government officials Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs.

The other witnesses were scientists Piers Sellers and Fred Bloetscher, CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau William Talbert, and Dr. Megan Linkin from the Swiss Re reinsurance company. 

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Rising Seas
11:09 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Environmental Orgs Tour Miami Sites Affected By Sea-Level Rise

The coast of Sunny Isles Beach, where new condos are being built without sea level rise protection.
Credit Lisann Ramos

In light of a field hearing organized by Sen. Bill Nelson about climate change and sea-level rise, South Florida environmentalists put on a tour of affected sites in the area.

Several environmental toured sites including Little Havana, which feels the impacts of over-flooding, and a canal flood-control structure that can't keep up with the saltwater levels.

The tour also visited a Sunny Isles Beach condo tower and a Virginia Key sewage plant.

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The Florida Roundup
12:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Should People Without Permits Be Able To Carry Guns During A Hurricane?

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

    

Hurricane season is a few months away, and that may be what was on the mind of legislators this session.

The Legislature is likely to pass a bill allowing people who do not (and maybe even could not) get a concealed-weapons permit to carry a gun if there is a state-declared emergency.

The Miami Herald’s Fred Grimm called it the "Zombie Apocalypse bill."

This week on the Florida Roundup, we'll discuss what the bill is all about, who's pushing for it, and why she Sheriff's Association is a bit concerned about it.

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Crowd Hydrology
8:18 am
Tue April 15, 2014

FIU Professors Win Grant For Sea-Level Rise Project

Abel Fernandez, broadcast media junior, using FIU's new Media Innovation Incubator Lab at the north campus. Most of the sea-level rise project meetings will take place here. Students have swiveling desks and chairs, 20 laptops, 20 tablets, a smart TV and a view of the campus.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Florida International University is one of twelve colleges in the country to win a grant from the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education this year. Four FIU journalism professors proposed a project on sea-level rise in South Florida. 

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Renewable Energy
6:37 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Who Was That Tea Party Lady At The Solar Energy Rally With Charlie Crist?

RALLY IN (AND FOR) THE SUN: Hundreds of students, activists and solar energy entrepreneurs crowded the capitol grounds for Solar Uprising.
Credit Rick Stone

There was an odd moment at the Solar Uprising rally at the state capitol on Thursday, which Charlie Crist attended to be seen championing solar energy for our state.

It was provided by a woman named Debbie Dooley, who addressed the crowd a few minutes before Crist took the stage. What she said was this: "I know I'm unique in this crowd because I like Gov. Scott. But he's wrong on the issue of solar." 

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National Water Dance Project
5:27 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Miami-Based Dance Project Aims To Raise Sea-Level Rise Awareness Nationally

Student dancers rehearse the Water Project Dance at the Deering Estate on Tuesday, April 7, 2014.
Credit Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

The broad lawn at the Deering Estate at Cutler runs gently downhill to meet Biscayne Bay, washing up between two massive, palm lined jetties to be greeted, on this bright afternoon, by a mass of young people. They flood across the grass, arms and bodies rippling as they surge into lines and circles and lifts in a dance that looks like both prayer and invocation.

“Keep it alive!” exhorts their director, the Miami choreographer Dale Andree, striding the grass in baseball cap and jeans. “You care about it! This is important!”

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Sea-Level Rise
10:40 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Why Sea-Level Rise Might Hurt Poor Neighborhoods More Than Coastal Areas

Some lower-income neighborhoods may be more vulnerable to the impacts of rising seas than coastal areas.
Credit Keren Bolter

Keren Bolter is a doctoral student of geosciences at Florida Atlantic University researching what areas in South Florida are particularly threatened by rising seas. She says all methods of analysis for the risks of sea-level rise only focus on financial vulnerability -- ranking Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami Beach as high-risk -- but to her, that's not the whole story.

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