Good old Little Cuba, Hialeah, is the most vulnerable city in the U.S. to the effects of a rising ocean, according to a study by Climate Central. These and other interesting warnings were issued at a Sea Level Rise summit in Boca Raton, organized by Florida Atlantic University (see Miami Herald summary here).
I’ve been writing about this issue for years now, and not much has changed in terms of awareness:
Like many effects of global warming, serious troubles from sea level rise are not expected for decades, and it will only affect areas near sea level. People are not going to wake up to this reality until they are denied flood insurance, which will happen eventually. South Florida is expected to disappear completely, but that should take several centuries.
Of course, what should happen and what will happen are two different stories. Here’s where you can learn more about sea level rise:
- Check out your city’s vulnerability with Climate Central’s map
- Florida University’s unite here
- Skeptics of climate change, go here
Many people will lose their homes to a rising sea, and some speakers at the conference said that relocation should begin now. The representative from the Florida Keys talked about how they are raising certain elements of infrastructure by two feet, which will buy some time, but her overall tone conveyed a sense of defeat. The ocean is going to win.
Sea level rise is under way, and some very flat islands are already flooded. For the world’s other flat places, the big question remains: how much time do we have left?