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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Elevation Zero
4:00 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Sea-Level Rise Taking The Pines Out Of Big Pine Key

Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Big Pine Key takes its name from the pine forests that cover the island, about 30 miles from Key West. Rare plants and endangered animals — such as the Key deer — live in those forests.

But now the forests and hammocks are threatened by the rising seas around and beneath them.

Robert Ehrig points to a piece of land that was hardwood hammock when he came to live here 35 years ago.

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The Florida Roundup
3:44 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Sea-Level Rise Will Flood South Florida. Now What?

 

On The Florida Roundup, we continue our special coverage, Elevation Zero - Rising Seas in South Florida by looking at the predictions, the policies and the problems.

Host Tom Hudson will be joined by Curtis Morgan of the Miami Herald, Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times, and Alex Chadwick, formerly of NPR and now producer/reporter of BURN: An Energy Journal.

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Elevation Zero
12:57 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Building For Sea-Level Rise -- Without Rules

The Miami-Dade Wastewater Treatment Plant on Virginia Key.
Credit 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.

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Elevation Zero
12:11 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Special Programming: 'Rising Seas In South Florida'

Credit 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:

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Elevation Zero
8:55 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Sea Level Limbo In The Caribbean: How Low Can You Go?

Map of the Caribbean showing in red the vulnerability of the Western Isles, especially The Bahamas.
Credit Google

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.)

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Elevation Zero
3:24 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Outdated Miami Canals Too Weak For Sea-Level Rise

Credit 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.

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The Sunshine Economy
7:54 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Underwater Real Estate

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.

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Elevation Zero
7:53 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Fort Lauderdale Ahead Of The State When It Comes To Sea-Level Rise Protection

Fort Lauderdale's State Road A1A suffered serious damages from Tropical Storm Sandy.
Credit 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.

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