Here are recent stories in local, state, national and international media about climate change and sea-level rise.
By Brett Sokol
New York Times
A 21st-century Atlantis-in-the-making is how many scientists think of Miami Beach. With a projected sea-level rise of three to four feet by the century’s end, huge chunks of the barrier-island city are expected to lie beneath the Atlantic Ocean. But Hany Boutros is staying.
In fact, Mr. Boutros, 43, a Detroit-area health care executive and real estate developer, has built a new 3,500-square-foot home in South Beach, the city’s most threatened neighborhood.
“I would be foolish if I didn’t take sea-level rise into consideration, but it’s not going to stop me from living the life I want,” he said, standing inside his Prairie Avenue home’s entryway. “I found a solution,” he added, motioning to the retractable automated stairway that connects a 9,400-square-foot open-air gated tropical garden and parking area with the three-bedroom house above it.
By Kate Stein
WLRN Public Media
May 3, 2018
Global warming is likely contributing to record-breaking heat in South Florida: 2015 and 2017 tied for the hottest year since regional record-keeping began in the 1800s, and temperatures in the early part of 2018 are setting records, too.
Without global cooperation, the region can’t significantly slow global warming. So many communities are instead thinking about how to adapt to hotter weather. One way is by planting trees to shade sidewalks and bus stops, and in neighborhoods where people might not be able to afford much air conditioning.
“‘If you have one tree to plant, plant it in a city,'” said Ian Leahy, director of Urban Forest Programs for American Forests, quoting urban forestry expert David Nowak. “It has this impact that goes beyond planting a tree anywhere else.”
One April morning in 2016, Daryl Carpenter, a charter boat captain out of Grand Isle, La., took some clients to catch redfish on a marsh pond that didn’t use to exist. Coastal erosion and rising seas are submerging a football field’s worth of Louisiana land every hour, creating and expanding ponds and lakes such as the one onto which Carpenter had piloted his 24-foot vessel.
Suddenly, another boat pulled up beside Carpenter’s. “You’re trespassing,” the other driver declared, before chasing him and his clients down the bayou. The sheriff’s office later threatened to arrest Carpenter if he ever returned to the pond. There was just one problem: Under Louisiana state law, any waterways that are accessible by boat are supposed to be public property, argued Carpenter—even what was previously unnavigable swampland.
The Guardian newspaper
Florida’s mangroves have been forced into a hasty retreat by sea level rise and now face being drowned, imperiling coastal communities and the prized Everglades wetlands, researchers have found.
Mangroves in south-east Florida in an area studied by the researchers have been on a “death march” inland as they edge away from the swelling ocean but have now hit a manmade levee and are likely to be submerged by water within 30 years, according to the Florida International University analysis.
“There’s nowhere left for them to go,” said Dr Randall Parkinson, a coastal geologist at FIU. “They are done. The sea will continue to rise and the question now is whether they will be replaced by open water. I think they will.
“The outlook is pretty grim. What’s mind boggling is that we are facing the inundation of south Florida this century.”
The San Diego Union Tribune
Del Mar has decided to include “managed retreat” as a last-resort option for dealing with sea-level rise, despite widespread objections from homeowners in the tony, seaside enclave.
The California Coastal Commission, in two letters to the city, has emphasized that managed retreat must be “one of the tools in the toolbox,” city officials said at a Monday night council meeting.
Without it, the city would lose control to the state over development of everything from seawalls to shopping centers.
Managed retreat is a term that describes planning for ways to remove homes, roads, public buildings and other structures from the path of the rising sea. In some cases, it could involve the government buying the properties, or assisting in the sales, and helping the residents find new places to live.
The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, a team of scientists asserted Wednesday, suggesting one of the most feared consequences is already coming to pass.
The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has declined in strength by 15 percent since the mid-20th century to a “new record low,” the scientists conclude in a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Nature. That’s a decrease of 3 million cubic meters of water per second, the equivalent of nearly 15 Amazon rivers.
New York Times
NEW ORLEANS — Burnell Cotlon lost everything in Hurricane Katrina — “just like everyone else,” he said.
When the flawed flood wall bordering his neighborhood here in the Lower Ninth Ward gave way in August 2005, the waters burst through with explosive force that pushed his home off its foundations and down the street. What was left: rubble, mud and mold.
Not far from his rebuilt home stands a rebuilt flood wall, taller and more solidly anchored in its levee than the old one. On the other side of that lies the canal whose storm-swollen waters toppled the old wall, letting Lake Pontchartrain spill into the neighborhood and then sit, more than 10 feet deep, for weeks on end.
As an added shield, an enormous gate closes the canal off from the lake when storms approach. Similar gates can secure the city’s other major canals. In all, federal, state and local governments spent more than $20 billion on the 350 miles of levees, flood walls, gates and pumps that now encircle greater New Orleans.