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In the battle against My future is now seas, the region — which has more to lose than almost anywhere else in the world — is becoming ground zero. The building was an ocean-front high-rise in a small city north of Miami called Sunny Isles Beach.
The marble lobby had a waterfall that never stopped running; crisp-shirted valets parked your car for you. For the residents who lived in the more lavish flats, these cars were often BMWs and Mercedes. But no matter their value, the cars all wound up in the same place: The data backs them up.
Sea levels are rising around the world, and in the US, south Florida is ground zero — as much for the adaptation strategies it is attempting as for the risk that it bears.
View image of Florida State Road A1A runs the entire length of Florida along the ocean One reason is that water levels here are rising especially quickly. The most frequently-used range of estimates puts the likely range between cm in above levels byand cm in by That means not only more flooding, but challenges for the infrastructure that residents depend on every day, from septic tanks to wells.
The flooding would be a challenge for any community, but it poses particular risks here.
One recent report estimated that Miami has the most to lose in terms of financial assets of any coastal city in the world, just above Guangzhou, China and New York City. This mile km corridor running up the coast from Homestead to Jupiter — taking in major cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — is the eighth most populous metropolitan area in the US.
Recent studies have shown that Florida has more residents at risk from climate change than any other US state. View image of Along with new developments, south Florida is home to historic properties It has more property at risk, too.
In Miami-Dade County, developers had 1. As you might imagine, the value of development in this sun-soaked part of the country is high, too. The president frequently visits his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, 75 miles km north of Miami, which is itself an area experiencing flooding from high tides.
There also are six Trump-branded residential buildings in Sunny Isles, one of which still provides the president with income, and a Trump-branded condominium complex in Hollywood.
The miles km of roads being raised in Miami Beach. The new shopping mall built with flood gates. The tidal valves installed in Fort Lauderdale. The seawalls being raised and repaired. And the worried conversations between more and more residents every year about what the sea-rise models predict — and what to do about it.
Rather, the challenge is to do enough to ensure that the economy as a whole continues to thrive and that tourists still come to enjoy the sun, sand — and swelling sea.
Getting there, though, requires a shift in how everyone from mayors to taxpayers, insurers to engineers, property developers to urban planners thinks about their communities — and the everyday decisions that shape them. The eyes of the world are on them: While there has been a mean rise of a little more than 3mm per year worldwide since the s, in the last decade, the NOAA Virginia Key tide gauge just south of Miami Beach has measured a 9mm rise annually.
That may not sound like much. And across the region, underground infrastructure — like aquifers or septic tanks — lies even closer to the water table.
Elevation is time for us. From 3mm per year from tothe rise off Miami Beach tripled to that 9mm rate from An uptick also happened between the s and s, says Wdowinski, making some question whether this is a similar oscillation. What if the US or China reverses its trend on stabilising emissions?
What if a major volcano erupts? What if a glacier melts more quickly than expected?
But enough credible projections have been done to put together a range of scenarios that researchers are confident about. One graph compiled in by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compacta non-partisan initiative that collates expertise and coordinates efforts across Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, is especially revealing see below.
At the bottom is a dotted green line, which rises slowly. Before you get optimistic, the footnote is firm: At the top, the orange line is more severe still, going off the chart — to 81 inches cm — by the end of the century. View image of This oft-used range of estimates puts a in rise by as a likely scenario But as more data comes in, even the worst-case estimates may turn out to be too low: The most dramatic impacts may not be felt for 50 or years.
But coastal communities are already experiencing more storms and extremely high tides known as king tides. In the same study, Wdowinski found there were a total of 16 flood events in Miami Beach from to Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.
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