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What the world's rising seas will mean for Florida

Miami after Wilma in '05.

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Miami after Wilma in '05.



New from the New York Times:

Miami, one of the nation's most populous cities, is built atop a porous limestone foundation on the South Florida coast, making it extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels, according to the federal government's 2013 draft National Climate Assessment. As Arctic ice continues to melt, the waters around Miami could rise up to 24 inches by 2060, according to a report by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. Residents say they are already experiencing the effects as roads and outdated sewage systems flood. The porous limestone creates a unique threat as seawater seeps through the city's foundations.

"You're not necessarily getting water pouring up over a barrier — instead, it's seeping through the limestone and coming up through drains," said Leonard Berry, co-director of the Climate Change Initiative at Florida Atlantic University. "It's already happening. And it's not very pleasant."

A study by the Florida Department of Transportation concluded that over the next 35 years, rising sea levels will damage smaller roads in the Miami area, and that after 2050, major coastal highways will also experience significant flooding and deteriorate as the limestone beneath them becomes saturated and crumbles.

Now might be a good time to (re-)read Ivan Penn's piece from a few months back. Also: 17 things I underlined in last summer's distressing piece in Rolling Stone. Here's a (not) fun interactive map.

[Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 3:35pm]


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