Saturday, July 30, 2011

Prediction: Florida Keys underwater by 2100

Jeff Burnside in NBC Miami: he Florida Keys disappearing by the year 2100? That's the pronouncement from a national environmental group this week, warning that South Florida is among the most vulnerable areas of the country to climate change and sea level rise.

The sea is rising, but it’s rising slowly enough so that too few people get alarmed, say climate scientists. It’s a slow march upward 5-10 feet, says all the science, that will happen over the next 100 years or so. "And so we would be utter fools not to attempt to arrest this while we have a fighting chance,” said University of Miami scientist John Van Leer, who has been researching climate change since the 1980’s, before almost all his colleagues.

So this new warning from the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is a review of more than 75 scientific studies warning us about the future of South Florida, is the same warning he and his colleagues have been raising for years. So what are the impacts that many scientists have found are already happening in South Florida, in part, because of climate change?
  • An increase in diseases like dengue fever is already underway
  • Seafood is becoming less plentiful
  • Our valuable coral reefs are already dying at alarming rates
  • Our drinking water supply is becoming infused with seawater intruding on the underground aquifer
  • We’re seeing more frequent extreme weather events, like heavy rains or wildfires caused by drought, consistent with climate change
  • Our coastline is eroding at a greater and greater pace especially during storms
  • Agriculture harvests are more challenged, often leading to increased prices
  • Stronger hurricanes
Two bridges on the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys. On the left is the modern highway bridge, while on the right is the original bridge built by the Florida East Coast Railway, adapted for automobile traffic after 1935, and later closed. Shot by Elkman, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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