Rising Seas Opening the Floodgates to Florida
A new report, Patterns and Projections of High Tide Flooding Along The U.S. Coastline by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) backs up what other scientists have found – that high-tide flooding will become more frequent, increasingly severe and sooner than we thought.
The Washington Post (WaPo) covered this report in an extensive story entitled, “High-tide flooding could happen “every other day” by the end of this century.”
The Post quotes the late Margaret Davidson, who said, “Today’s flood will become tomorrow’s high tide.”
So the question is, do we want to have flooding everyday, or every other day? … And, what are we going to do about it? Can we do anything about it?
We must take action to not only to prepare for the inevitable rising seas, but also to prevent the worse from happening. Click here to join our call to action.
Scientists argue, and we agree, that if we curb emissions now - by reducing fossil fuel extraction and consumption - that we can prevent the most serious consequences of climate change.
University of South Florida Professor Gary Mitchum, also quoted in the story, co-authored another study where satellite data, consistent with what climate models predicted, shows that sea level rise is happening, and the rate is accelerating.
As the Washington Post story points, out, “The prospect of high-tide flooding occurring every day or even every other day late this century is difficult to fathom.”
The story quotes, Michael Lowry, a visiting scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, who expressed shock on twitter after seeing these projections, saying,
“It’s hard to overstate the significance of this,” he said. “That isn’t even the intermediate high, high, or extreme scenarios that bring us 365 [days per year] high tide flooding in my lifetime. It’s crazy.”
SOONER THAN WE THINK
While it may be easy to dismiss projections for 2100 as something that won’t happen in our lifetime, consider that several Florida communities will see disruptive high-tide flooding as soon as 2030 or 2045.
In fact, parts of Tampa Bay, Miami, and the Keys already see high-tide flooding during annual “King tide” events.
A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, called, “When Rising Seas Hits Home” has a mapping tool that demonstrates how many Florida communities will have “chronic inundation” as soon as 2030 or 2045.
The Washington Post article states,
Even by 2050, the report projects high-tide flooding will occur between 50 and 250 days per year along the East Coast, depending on the emissions scenario.
Some Planners Are Paying Attention. – Florida Should Too!
Let’s Do Something!
This Op Ed by Susan Glickman and Pinellas County Commission Chair Janet Long argue that it’s time for communities to work together to prepare for the expected flooding. In South Florida, there is the South Florida Regional Climate Compact – shouldn’t Florida’s other coastal regions do the same?
Scientists point out that no one community has the ability to tackle these problems alone. When counties work together, they can combine resources, funding, expertise, and know-how to make an impact.