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?

Kate Stein / WLRN

In one of Miami-Dade’s most flood-prone areas, county officials on Thursday night collected public input on what to do about water from storms and and rising seas.

Andres Rivero / Courtesy of Miami Mayor's Office

Rowan Douglas feels an emotional draw to statistical risk modeling of natural disasters.

"Two hundred years ago, we created the romantic period of English literature, where man became connected to nature," the executive said. "We are now connecting to nature again, through the majesty of the modeled world."

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The threat of sea level rise affects all of South Florida – from the ocean to the Everglades. The sea has risen nine inches in the past century. It’s predicted to rise another two feet in less than half that time.

 

Evidence of the higher seas can be seen around the region – including increased flooding, raising roads, flood pumps and encroaching saltwater.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Days after eight kids sued the state of Florida for policies they say contribute to climate change, a coalition of environment groups has launched a statewide campaign to get Floridians engaged on the issue.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The looming impacts of climate change are increasingly raising questions about the future of Miami's real estate, particularly from residents who wonder what will happen to their property as the sea level rises.

Joe Reedy / AP via Miami Herald

Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn't talk about climate change.

Florida International University

Floridians have been finding ways to get above high water for thousands of years, going back to the “tree islands” that helped Seminole and Calusa tribes stay dry in the Everglades. But rising seas could soon force wholesale changes in the way our cities and towns operate. At Florida International University, this reality has prompted an inter-disciplinary architecture studio where students are experimenting with designs for climate change.

 

President Obama is telling global leaders that the U.S. is taking the lead on combating climate change. But Congress would have to approve any money for the effort and Republicans are dead set against it. South Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart says the president knows he's deceiving world leaders.

“This is a president who seems to be, every day, more and more out of touch with the reality of the world. And so, you know, would it surprise me if the president went and promised things he couldn’t deliver? It wouldn’t surprise me,” Diaz-Balart says.

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

A woman in a beautiful red sari sits on a small stool; She holds a basket full of bright orange persimmons and tries to sell her wares. In a matter of seconds, though, water has risen to her calves, then her hips and then above her head.

Her clothes swirl around her as she tries to grab the floating fruit.

All of this happens in an elevator-sized tank for a performance art piece called Holoscenes  at the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College.

Florida Gets Bad Grade On Climate Change Risk Preparedness

Nov 18, 2015

A new study released on Wednesday says the Sunshine state needs to do its homework to prepare for weather threats linked to climate change.

It gave Florida an overall C- grade in climate change preparedness.

The study by ICF International and Climate Central is the first assessment of its kind that evaluates how local governments in the U.S. face their climate change threats.

Many people like to visit the coast to enjoy long walks on the beach. But when the sand on the beach threatens to overrun your house and your driveway, it might not seem quite so idyllic anymore.

Some Oregon coastal communities want to form a new type of governmental agency just to deal with the problem of too much sand. Chris Lehman from Here & Now contributor Northwest News Network in Oregon has the story.

Miami-Dade Clerk Of Courts Calls For Sea-Level Rise Superfund

Oct 21, 2015
FL Center for Environmental Studies

Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin sent a letter last week to South Florida members of Congress urging for the creation of a Federal Resiliency Superfund.

This is another instance of South Florida’s local governments seeking to plan ahead for the effects of sea-level rise.

Ruvin says: “The proposal basically calls upon the federal government to play a part in what has to be an intergovernmental partnership to attack issues from climate change impact such as sea level rise."

Florida Roundup: Managing Rising Seas In South Florida

Oct 16, 2015
Climate Central

A new interactive map shows coastal cities like Miami could potentially be submerged within this century if carbon emissions worldwide continue “business as usual,” says Ben Strauss.

Strauss is vice president of sea level and climate impact at the research nonprofit Climate Central, which published the map.

It illustrates the effect of carbon emissions on sea-level rise through the year 2100.

In South Florida’s case, “the projections are difficult and unfortunate,” says Strauss.

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