15 July 2013

The end of Miami?

Jeff Goodell writes in Rolling Stone that Miami is a doomed city.  He writes about an imagined Hurricane that hits the city in 2030 and an ultimate demise of the city that leaves it as an unusual tourist destination. "And still, the waters kept rising, nearly a foot each decade. By the latter end of the 21st century, Miami became something else entirely: a popular snorkeling spot where people could swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city." after the future scenarios,  he analyzes the overall situation making it clear how many different factors contribute to the problem in Miami: rising sea level, more intense storms, high water table, nuclear reactors on the coast (with more proposed), and startlingly flat terrain (half of the land, he reports, surrounding Miami is less than 5 feet above sea level). With only modest inundation, Miami starts getting cut off from the rest of Florida. And, writes Goodell, those reactors get isolated from the mainland with only three feet of sea level rise:
"I went out there anyway. I was denied access to the inner workings, but I got a very nice view of two aging 40-year-old reactors perched on the edge of a rising sea with millions of people living within a few miles of the plant. It was as clear a picture of the insanity of modern life as I've ever seen."

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Coupled with the Bill McKibben piece in Rolling Stone last year that distills the latest depressing science on climate change, things seem stark for South Beach. Here are his three numbers that should scare you:
  • 2° Celsius 
  • 565 Gigatons 
  • 2,795 Gigatons 
This isn't exactly news. The NY Times  mapped out scenarios for a variety of cities last year and Miami instantly stood out. But together these two Rolling Stone pieces get a strong Places and Spaces recommendation. And we recommend readers visit the beaches around Miami and the Everglades now, while they can.

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1 comment:

Sam said...

Now I have Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) by Billy Joel in my head. Except I'm starting to rethink my plans to follow through with the instructions with the song. I'd rather not live underwater. skylight safety screens