Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Maldives (& Miami Beach) & rising seas
AOL News reports that the Maldives is in danger of "sinking" into a rising ocean. "The Maldives is an archipelago of almost 1,200 coral islands located south-southwest of India. Most of the islands lie just 4.9 feet above sea level."
While the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is forecasting sea levels will rise 7.1 inches by the end of the century, some scientists argue that sea levels are rising much faster that expected and that forecast is dangerously flawed. Indeed, there is evidence of this right now.
The president of the Maldives, Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed, is so concerned about his nation's vulnerability that he is taking steps to move his entire nation to higher ground. A portion of the $1 billion that the Maldives takes in each year from tourism is being held in a special account to buy a new homeland.
Maybe Miami should begin taking similar steps instead of building new high-rises next to the ocean.
Eye on Miami reported on the danger Miami is facing from rising seas back on October 1. "On sea level rise, we're waiting. For the most part the local conversation is not whether sea level rise will occur but when."
It is especially interesting that the projections put forward by "the science committee of the Miami Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force" do not reflect "the possibility of a catastrophically rapid melt of land-bound ice from Greenland, and it makes no assumptions about Antarctica."
Indeed, other scientists, including James Hansen of NASA, are much more pessimistic. The ice is melting just about everywhere, and the seas are rising more rapidly than anyone has projected. Some scientists predict that much of Miami Beach could be underwater by 2012.
One piece of evidence to support that has to do with the rising tides along the southeastern Florida shore. A climate change scientist noted that "tides are running about 6-8 inches above that predicted."
In other words, "when" is now.
The photo above shows tidal flooding in downtown Miami. "It has become the regular twice a day occurrence of the tide. ... low lying streets all over Miami and Miami Beach are experiencing increasingly regular, non weather event, flooding."
Eye on Miami notes further that "this flooding is a very recent phenomenon otherwise the condo's foundation and surrounding infrastructure could never have been completed."
The photographer insisted salt water flooding in Miami's downtown happens on a regular basis.
The evidence tends to show that the rise in sea levels is increasing at a much faster pace than anticipated. Thousands of miles of U.S. coastline are vulnerable. The Bush administration has not only refused to deal with the issue, but has fought any and all attempts to mitigate human causes of global warming.
It appears we will have to wait for the Obama administration to take action. We can only hope it is not too late.
Read more from Eye on Miami here.