Scientists have shared warnings for some time about the effects of climate change on sea levels. Now climatologists and researchers say Miami could actually be engulfed by the rising tide—and sooner than you might think.
“Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century, even if we stop burning fossil fuel in the next decade,” New York Magazine writer David Wallace-Wells wrote of his reporting on climate change.
Miami is not the only coastal city that will be affected.
According to National Geographic, by the end of the century, more than 670 coastal communities will experience chronic flooding, including Cambridge, Massachusetts; Oakland, California; St. Petersburg, Florida; and four of the five boroughs of New York City, in addition to Miami.
Chronic flooding is defined as 10 percent or more of a community’s usable land flooding 26 times a year, or every other week.
While Miami Beach has not yet reached this threshold, officials are already working to deal with the problem, having invested more than $400 million to rebuild storm sewers. As the possibility of constant, catastrophic flooding looms ever closer, it’s already affecting real estate trends in the Miami metro area.
“Everybody I know that is a small owner of real estate that isn’t within the billionaire class—average middle-class, upper-middle-class Miamians who have real estate on the beach—is in the process of selling their properties and moving to the mainland,” Jesse Keenan, a lawyer who teaches climate change adaptation at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, told Scientific American.
One upshot of the situation, at least according to those concerned about the global effects of climate change, is that people are beginning to take the issue more seriously. According to a Gallup poll, record percentages of Americans are concerned about global warming, believe it is occurring, consider it a serious threat and say it is caused by human activity.