Sunday, February 17

Three Papers Join Forces to Raise Awareness of Sea-Level Rises in South Florida

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In South Florida, the sea-level rise is real. In Key West, for example, the sea level has risen nine inches in the past century; it’s risen three inches in the past 23 years. By 2060, according to NOAA estimates, it will rise two feet.

The evidence is everywhere:

– Several times a year seawater bubbles up through storm drains in Miami Beach, in the finger islands of Fort Lauderdale, and in areas along the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach during high tides. (See the picture above of a flood along Alton Road in Miami Beach last August).

– Catfish were seen swimming through floodwater in a Pompano Beach apartment complex west of I-95 last year.

– An octopus bubbled up through a storm-water drain in a Miami Beach parking garage.

– Sawgrass Mills, a shopping complex in western Broward, was closed for three days last year because the storm-water drain system couldn’t handle a heavy afternoon storm. That had never happened before.

Now three South Florida newspapers, the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post, plus WLRN Public Media, have joined forces to raise awareness about the problem. They quote NOAA’s concern that the two-foot rise by 2060 may be too conservative, and that the sea-level rise could be three feet by then (making barrier islands and low-lying communities uninhabitable) and eight feet by 2100.

They particularly want to raise awareness at the state level. “I travel the state more than anybody but the governor,” says Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “I promise you that people are not demanding that their local House member or local Senator drop what they’re doing and do something about sea-level rise. The solution is to raise awareness to it.” Read more:



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