Thursday, July 11, 2013

Miami as the new Venice

 We just had a post discussing what the Florida Keys are doing with regards to predicted rises in sea level.  Now we will go over to the other side of Florida to see how they are doing.


The subtitle of the article quoted below is:
By century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin
Goodbye, Miami
Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, 20 June 2013 (hat tip: NC)
Even more than Silicon Valley, Miami embodies the central technological myth of our time – that nature can not only be tamed but made irrelevant. Miami was a mosquito-and-crocodile-filled swampland for thousands of years, virtually uninhabited until the late 1800s. Then developers arrived, canals were dug, swamps were drained, and a city emerged that was unlike any other place on the planet, an edge-of-the-world, air-conditioned dreamland of sunshine and beaches and drugs and money; Jan Nijman, the former director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Miami, called 20th-century Miami "a citadel of fantastical consumption." Floods would come and go and hurricanes might blow through, but the city would survive, if only because no one could imagine a force more powerful than human ingenuity. That defiance of nature – the sense that the rules don't apply here – gave the city its great energy. But it is also what will cause its demise.
Building major towns on swampy land does lead to some challenges, not much doubt about that.

The full story is lengthy and pretty much puts to rest any likelihood that sea level won't be rising.  Due to the expansion of the warming water in place, it's risen 9" since the 1920s; this all coming before any serious polar ice cap melt.


PioneerPreppy said...

Sea levels are not rising. I will go find it again but there are other studies and researchers who show otherwise.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: The people saying its not rising seem to have a very strong agenda. If you can find a source without that sort of agenda I would be interested.

On the other side there are a lot of folks who also have a political agenda. But you also have a lot of scientist types who don't.

In North Carolina, the local scientists, who are doing the recording, show maps which are not all that alarming. It's not as if Raleigh becomes beachfront property. But the Republican legislature decided that the State was not allowed to use any of the data.

It has been a while now since the a number of Republicans have retreated on the global warming issue, and took the fall back position that it's not because of anything we did. Occasionally they ignore this argument and advance the idea (one that I think is a little more plausible) that we would be going into an ice age if it weren't for all the extra carbon.

It's a little like the biblical creationists. They argued, and argued, but as the evidence kept piling up, they eventually came to just creating their own evidence, and ignoring the rest of it. Some of my relatives, sighting absolute no evidence, now like to say that they think that natural processes occur at different rates at different times: a general position that sounds simple but starts opening up an even larger can of worms when you start digging in.

The climate denialists are already at this point. The scientists they had on their side (data skeptics mostly) have been changing sides as more data is looked at. The political folks, of course, don't care.