Wednesday, September 24, 2008

7,900 acres of South Florida could be underwater by 2030, climate study predicts

Palm Beach Post: More than 7,900 acres of South Florida could be underwater by the year 2030 as sea levels rise, inundating coastal areas and causing billions of dollars in property loss. The prediction is made in a $50,000 Florida State University climate study released today, and while the South Florida numbers are specific to Miami-Dade County, they are meant to raise the awareness of what can happen to all of the state's disintegrating shorelines. The study found that overall, Florida's coasts will experience sea level rise in the range of .23 to .29 feet by 2030 and .83 feet to over one foot by the year 2080.

Already, the affects of higher sea levels can be seen, researchers said. A 2007 photo of a new condominium on Singer Island, whose eastern edge teetered over a 15-foot drop onto an eroded beach, is used in the report asan example of what's to come. "We need to realize that sea level rise is happening and we have to adapt to it," said Jim Murley, director of FAU's Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, which released a policy report in conjunction with the FSU study.

…Some of the recommendations in FAU's report include:

  • Adding regulations that ensure new coastal construction is resilient to higher sea levels, as well as hurricanes.
  • Asking the state to acquire undeveloped coastline and keep it in its natural state.
  • Hurricane evacuation routes should be reassessed so that options exist if current routes are under water.
  • Construction of sea walls or other structures to stem the loss of beach sand may be needed to maintain critical developments, with financial compensation given to communities affected negatively by the walls.
The pier at Deerfield Beach, Florida. Shot by Dtobias, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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