Here's How Climate Change Will Flood South Florida: A Foot-by-Foot Visual Analysis | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Here's How Climate Change Will Flood South Florida: A Foot-by-Foot Visual Analysis

Last week, we looked out how a sheet of ice covering most of Greenland could threaten Broward and Miami in the distant future if it melts. The gist is that a jump in sea levels would flood massive swaths of South Florida and that there isn't necessarily the infrastructure in place to stave off such watery woe.

Now, a group called Climate Central has developed a tool to help visualize how rising sea levels could combine with storm surges to flood areas throughout the country. It's searchable by Zip Code, so naturally we plugged in 33301 to see if the Pulp's HQ is the place to be when the tide gets too high. 

It's most definitely not. 

Here we are a three feet. Last week, Fred Bloetscher of Florida Atlantic University told New Times that a three-foot rise in sea levels would permanently flood areas of western Broward County.

And at ten feet, there's little left dry.

Strauss says one of the most important steps that the city should take is to to stop building so close to the shore. 

"South Florida has a larger concentration of homes and populations living in low-lying areas than any other place we looked at," he says. "To minimize harm, the region is going to need to discuss the idea of not building more things in harm's way."

And no, we can't just build sea walls to keep the water at bay. The problem with that plan, Strauss says, is that much of the area is based on porous limestone, which allows water to seep through anyway. We would still have floods, and the walls would only make it more difficult to get rid of that water. 

There's at least one glimmer of hope. Strauss touted the work of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact, a multicounty, bipartisan group that's busy crafting a plan on ways we can mitigate the destruction of rising waters. The work of the group could serve as a valuable model for areas at risk in the country. 

"This is a huge issue for Florida," Strauss says. "And I know not everyone of every political strip in Florida is onboard. Inevitably, within some short period of time -- within a decade or a couple at most -- every citizen, businessperson, and elected official in Florida will be begging the rest of the nation to pay attention to this issue and fight the accumulation of green house gases in the atmosphere."

While we've had the good luck of avoiding major hurricanes in the past few years, one good storm surge might be all it takes to bring this issue to the forefront of legislators' agendas. 

If you want to see how your hometown will hold up in the face of rising oceans, click here.

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Chris Sweeney

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