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Earth Politics Science

Sea Rise Could Force Millions In Florida To Adapt Or Flee (miamiherald.com) 421

mdsolar writes: For the first time, a team of researchers looked at ongoing population growth in areas where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has created flood maps that more accurately reflect local conditions. What they found was startling: projections that failed to factor in population growth in dense states like Florida hugely underestimated the number of people at risk and the cost of protecting them. Combined with the findings from a 2015 report, that means Florida can claim two titles: most property at risk, and now, most people.
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Sea Rise Could Force Millions In Florida To Adapt Or Flee

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  • by cjonslashdot ( 904508 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:05AM (#51706711)
    Yes but at a sea level rise rate of 2-4mm/year, I think that people will have time to adjust!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nope, problem is everyone insists on living in low lying areas, they are nicer with that sea view. Common sense is that you ban new housing, make it attractive to move somewhere higher - won't happen.

      So what happens is the same people insist the authorities 'protect their investments' so yoiu bankrupt yourselves building defences against rising water - which don't work. Once it's realized that's pointless - well no money left so you get lots of very poor refugees, no ability to handle that.

      So sad.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:39AM (#51706855)

        May I suggest you start talking to the Dutch. Their language sounds like a mix of German, English and a throat infection, but I assure you, they all understand and speak English excellently. The name "Netherlands" means "lower countries". You know that the Netherlands are famous for windmills, right? Well, those aren't all mills. Many are wind pumps [wikipedia.org], which were used to drain the land, most of which is below sea level.

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
          The Dutch don't get hurricanes almost every year though.
          • by jiriw ( 444695 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @10:12AM (#51707399) Homepage

            We do get a couple of violent storms each year (in the 10 beaufort region), Hurricanes (12 beaufort), probably not... For the Netherlands such violent storms are more like a once in couple of decades event. In the '90's there was a severe storm travelling through North-West Europe with an hourly average wind force of 11 beaufort in the Netherlands and dozens of fatalities in at least 5 different countries.

            Although our storms may not be as violent as the hurricanes of the American South-east, there is a trough-shape in the North Sea due to the British isles at our West, which ads extra height to the local sea-level when wind is blowing from the North. That effect is one you won't have at the Florida coast. Sea water can be diverted in enough directions there, but force of the waves may be larger with more violent storms... so you maybe need tougher (thick-skinned, so to speak... more use of rocks to break the waves instead of sand dunes and earthen dikes?) dikes instead of higher ones. However, I think the hurricanes you have should not be a hindrance to implement proper water works in your country if you really want to defend the coastal lands from future flooding. There, however, is a totally different price to pay. A dyke between beach property and the proper beach makes the property a lot less ... beachy.

            In combination with spring-tide, the elevated sea level due to the trough shape of the North Sea, caused the 1953 sea-side flood which flooded major parts of the Netherlands and killed over 1800 people in the Netherlands alone. The sea level rose 4,5 meters (15 feet) above normal. That last major flood in Dutch history was the reason we implemented our major water works, the Delta works, which have kept us safe since then. The 2006 'flood', which caused a rise in sea level of 4,8 meter (16 feet) didn't cause any flooding in the Netherlands. And all water works functioned within proper specifications.

            A once in a couple of decades event, like the 2006, 1990 and 1953 storms is something which is fully calculate into the structural specifications of our water works. The Delta works, reduced the risk from large-scale sea-side flooding from once in 80 years to once in 4 millennia. We also recently (a decade ago) strengthened the river dykes to prevent flooding by higher river water levels. Global warming means more water ice from glaciers is melting and more evaporation above land and sea -> more rain inland, adding to the usual run-off, causing higher peak-water levels. This caused some inconviniences in the '00's... Previous predictions were too conservative and we acted accordingly. The largest river of North-West Europe, the Rhine flows right through our country... If a storm crosses Germany, we see the result in rising water levels a couple of days later. But also the Meuse, which also flows through the Netherlands and which is a rain-fed river, mostly, can put up quite an act.

            And temperatures have been rising, storms are become more violent on average. In 2013 we had a weather pattern which could, for the first time in history, be described as a super-cell, with two accompanying tornadoes.

          • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @11:41AM (#51708085) Journal

            The Dutch don't get hurricanes almost every year though.

            Neither do Floridians [wikipedia.org].

        • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @10:49AM (#51707671) Homepage Journal
          Florida is one giant slab of porous limestone. It's eroding from below as well, sinkholes surprise people all the time there. They can build all the dikes they want, they will collapse when the underlying ground dissolves.
        • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @12:05PM (#51708305) Homepage
          Maybe I suggest you start talking to the Dutch either. I often hear that argument, but it means that you just use it as a talking point, but have never bothered to actually look at what the Dutch have there. First of all, the Dutch live at a coast that is very unique in that it has a large intertidal zone, a landscape so unique that there is no english word for it (while French, Dutch, German and Danish call it vasière, wad, Watt and vade resp.) It can stretch over several miles and falls dry every low tide and gets flooded every high tide. In this zone, waves wash new sand on the shore every high tide, so the land slowly grows into the sea. (It's different in Northern Germany and Danmark, where the tidal streams wash the sand away.) Thus, along the dutch shore new islands form all the time and grow.

          In historical times already, the Dutch started building dams that got flooded every high tide, but kept the sand in the low tide, thus increasing the land grow at their coast. If the spot was high enough, they started building a dike on it to prevent even very high tides to get onto the freshly won land. After the dikes are ready and all remaining water has been pumped out, the land is called a polder. Most of the land at the Dutch coast is polderland. What we have here is a tradition of 1500 years of winning land by creating polders on former seabeds, helped by the unique feature of the large intertidal zones.

          One problem still remains: Rivers flow into the sea, and if the land level is below sea level, they will not. At every river mouth, you have to somehow get the river water into the sea water, and if the sea level rises, you have to have pumps that are able to pump all the river water up into the seawater, or the river mouth will move up until it reaches the point where the sealevel matches the river level. At the Dutch coast, this problem is migitated by another natural phenomenom: A very high difference between high and low tide. While for most of the oceans, the difference (called tidal range) is just one or two feet (and thus much lower than the expected rise in sea levels), at the Dutch coast, the difference is between 6 and 10 feet. Thus, to let the river into the sea, but not the sea water into the land, you just close big gates at the river mouths every high tide, but open it at the low tide.

          Florida borders directly at the Atlantic Ocean, and thus the tidal range is very low, which means that no Floridan river will flow into the ocean anymore if the sea level rises. If you build large dikes around Florida, it will not be flooded by ocean water, but the rain water and the ground water, which no longer can flow into the ocean, will flood Florida instead.

          • While for most of the oceans, the difference (called tidal range) is just one or two feet (and thus much lower than the expected rise in sea levels),

            For most of the planet the minimum is 1m and up to 2m, not 2feet. E.g. basically every island in in the middle of the ocean has 2m tidal range.

            As far as I can say (I'm german), your idea about Netherlands tidal range makes no sense either.
            This is the tidal calendar for Norderney, was to lazy to search for a Netherlands one: http://www.bsh.de/cgi-bin/geze... [www.bsh.de]

            Eve

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          Alas, Florida has porous rock under it, so the water will go under any barrier they might try putting up.

      • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @09:07AM (#51707001)

        Common sense is that you ban new housing, make it attractive to move somewhere higher - won't happen.

        In principle, there is no need to ban such housing, we just need to stop subsidizing it. Right now, it's subsidized both through government-financed flood insurance programs, as well as through the provision emergency services. That encourages people not only to build in risky places, but also to pay for flood-proofing their homes. If people had to pay for the full cost of insurance and emergency services out of their own pockets, many people who currently build in flood zones would consider it too expensive and build somewhere else, and others would flood proof their homes instead of getting a fresh home every few decades courtesy of the tax payer. Attempts to reform the system have been repeatedly undermined. [huffingtonpost.com] (I think the reform act was probably too heavy handed. A better and simpler choice might be to limit payouts from government subsidized flood insurance to a one time payment, both per site and per property owner.)

        • A better and simpler choice might be to limit payouts from government subsidized flood insurance to a one time payment, both per site and per property owner.)

          Yes, that. Show me news coverage of a flood (or forest fire) and I'll show you someone saying, "Yes, but we just love it here. We're going to rebuild."

      • All those poor people can become diving instructors in 1000 years when the houses are under water

      • I see a simple solution to this: refuse aid to the refugees. Anyone who chooses to live in Florida is on their own, and when their house gets flooded, too bad. They've been warned, but they're all a bunch of conservative religious morons who believe "global warming is a myth", so let them suffer the consequences. They can be hoist by their own petard.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was told in 1974 by The Weekly Reader [wikipedia.org] that by the year 2000 all of the beaches in North Carolina were gong to be gone.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:41AM (#51706863)
      It's not the gradual rise that's the issue but the increased likelihood of extreme events. Events that might be considered "once in a lifetime" will happen with such frequency that insurers simply won't provide cover. People living in at-risk areas will be wiped out so often that they'll be driven to live somewhere else. It doesn't help that Florida is so flat either since it means storm surges could well travel miles inland and do damage.
      • Events that might be considered "once in a lifetime" will happen with such frequency that insurers simply won't provide cover.

        No it won't. It is a self correcting problem. A couple of extreme hurricanes and drought, the life expectancy will drop, lifetime will shorten, and the events will become once-in-a-lifetime again. BTW for all those who get killed by these weather events, they are already once in a lifetime events.

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @09:22AM (#51707071)

      Yes but at a sea level rise rate of 2-4mm/year, I think that people will have time to adjust!!

      Well, yeah. Sortakinda. Adjusting can mean everything from moving to drowning and there ya go.

      Sounds so benign, so manageable. Next thing ya know, its 2100, and the levels have risen by 3 feet (conservative) to possibly 6 feet. That is death for places like Miami.

      Flooding is a regular even there now. http://www.newyorker.com/magaz... [newyorker.com]

      And the right weather event, at the right time - even in the near future - will just grease the skids for it.

      Now of course, its pretty easy to say "Well - they shouldn't have built there!

      Problem of course, is after Miami is gone, you'll be able to say the same thing about the new lowest lying land.

      • And there's absolutely no way that this problem can be solved through engineering. New Orleans is already below sea level, and has been for quite some time. Yes, Katrina was bad for them - very - but most of that shit show was the fault of a completely mismanaged response at all levels of government - city, county, state, and federal.

        Changes will have to be made, for sure. But suggesting the abandonment of the 8th largest metro area in the US is beyond stupid when we literally have decades to do somethin

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Not a strong reader, are you?

      Using the most conservative estimate of sea rise — three feet by 2100
    • The neighborhood I lived in in Miami from 1990 to 2000 already had water in the streets at the highest tides of the month... it wasn't exactly rare for that, either.

  • Two Florida politicians that have not done well were running from this issue. Did that create a classic wimp factor that undercut them on all issues?
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      > wimp factor

      I'd make a joke about theoretical quantum physics but you'd probably not understand.

      • Try me. The reference is to Jeb's father who suffered politically from a wimp factor.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          So, your new theory is that he's a simp?

          • Slightly interacting massive politician? Or was that the guy from NJ?
            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Simp, in this usage, was short for simpleton. See, I told you that you'd not get it. It was a play on words, a pun - if you will, but not a very good one - one made even worse by having to explain it. It was also not the one I'd have originally gone with but that would have suffered the same fate.

              Ah well... 2/3rds of "pun" is "P-U." (Best said allowed, of course. Just not in polite company, or folks you want to respect you the next morning.)

  • And make them pay for it, they will - trust me.
    • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )
      The only problem with that approach, is that Aquaman and Atlantis are fictional. And even if they weren't. . . .good luck collecting. . . (grin)
  • They can evolve into alligators. Only those who do not believe in intelligent design

    • >Only those who do not believe in intelligent design

      Can you believe in intelligent design and Florida simultaneously?

      • They say never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Imagine the power of a large group of "Florida Man".
      • >Only those who do not believe in intelligent design

        Can you believe in intelligent design and Florida simultaneously?

        Sure! Under that way of thinking only the designer has to be intelligent.

  • by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:43AM (#51706881) Homepage

    And there was me thinking the place with the most to loose from rising sea levels by a large margin was Bangladesh. It certainly cannot hope to claim most people, the report cited claims six million people, which is a fraction compared to the 18-20 million people that could be submerged in Bangladesh.

    I guess the value of the properties submerged is more in Florida. However to match Bangladesh everyone in Florida would have to be submerged which seems a bit unlikely even on worst case scenarios which of course would see more people in Bangladesh submerged too.

  • by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @08:55AM (#51706931)

    This is going to rock, people! This is why global warming has my full support. Mother Earth has been begging for this for eons and it's time for us to deliver and prove that we are truly badass on a planetary scale. Terraformers who can truly shape the atmospheres of entire planets. Planets the size of the earth are mere toys to us. Little blue marbles in our giant hands. My greatest fear is that it will take too long. I want to see this in my lifetime. This needs to happen NOW. Not in a hundred years. Not in a thousand years. Not even next year. RIGHT NOW. Let's make this happen people! And Mars you motherfucker. You're next. I'm already putting aside as much money as I can for the inevitable canal front property that will be selling at bargain prices in just a few months.

  • North Carolina has outlawed sea level rise since 2012. [go.com]

    It has been ruled unconstitutional for the sea levels to rise.

    It is the job of the federal government to respect and enforce all laws enacted by a duly elected constitutional body of legislators. If Florida had outlawed sea level rise in 2012, it would be a federal government problem, and the state does not have to do anything. Now ordinary Floridians are having to pay for the mistakes committed by incompetent state legislatures.

    It clearly shows gov

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      The only role federal government can play here legally is to put out the wild fires using helicopters and airplanes."

      I must have missed the part where they were given those powers when I read the Constitution.
    • by saider ( 177166 )

      The only role federal government can play here legally is to put out the wild fires using helicopters and airplanes.

      As a Floridian, I don't want my tax money to pay for firefighting in the west. I think the western states should be able to take care of that on their own. Why does the federal government need to get involved? Just let nature take its course.

      • The only role federal government can play here legally is to put out the wild fires using helicopters and airplanes.

        As a Floridian, I don't want my tax money to pay for firefighting in the west. I think the western states should be able to take care of that on their own. Why does the federal government need to get involved? Just let nature take its course.

        Our founding fathers, in their infinite wisdom, anticipated such disagreements. They provided for a conflict resolution mechanism to resolve such disputes.

        It is called the second amendment. Shoot out in the main street, neutral venue. You want to choose the weapon and I the location? Or you want to pick the location and leave the weapon to me?

      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        Except that you'll need those fires put out so you can go live there when major cities in Florida are uninhabitable. We have thousands of square miles of wilderness that you can come live in.

    • Government does work; a bunch of high standard-of-living nations in western Europe have proven that.

      The problem is that democratic government requires an educated, non-greedy populace to work well. When it's tried in places full of uneducated religious idiots, it doesn't work very well, and that's what we see in many places in America, especially Florida.

      One thing that does need to be done is that states need to (in defiance of the Federal government if necessary) prevent Floridians and other southerners f

  • We can offload that waterlogged, burdensome property. Just consult our offices about how to get the best bid for your seashore sunset view ,sea air, and waterlogged basement/first floor. Buyers are ready to pay as much as $40,000 dollars to buy your land out for redevelopment. Cut your million+ dollar loses from that property you invested your life in because you, like many other unfortunate people bought the industry by-line: Global warming was made up by fear mongering, panicky scientists.
  • Florida legalized murder a while back, I thought they said that was going to solve the population-related problems. What happened?
  • Sending out notices saying "move or risk living underwater" doesn't cost that much does it? Really, it's not the government's job to "protect" these people, if they are too stupid to get out of the path of the oncoming train, let natural selection take it's course...
  • by Eloking ( 877834 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @10:29AM (#51707511)

    I had a lot of fun with this simulator that give a taste of sea rising : http://geology.com/sea-level-r... [geology.com]

    The lack of will to fight global warming let most of the scientist baffled toward the governments of the world. It's a little understandable, the global warming is so subtle (~2mm rise and 0.13 Celcius per year) that the frog analogy of Al Gore perfectly explain our lack of action. As of now, it's not possible to make a business case that, with X billions you'll save Y billions of natural disaster.

    For me, money is the key of that fight and the sonner the better. And that map (see link above) showed me something interesting. A lof of huge and rich city are at sea level (Miami, New York, Tokyo etc.). Each of those city worth in the trillion : http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

    I wonder what the speech will look like when water will start flooding Broadway. How will the fight again global warming will look like with a budget of 10 trillions?

  • It ia very easy to protect the cities... dome them and tunnel the highways.... Come on people this is not rocket science....

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @11:51AM (#51708171)
    In 2124, after the Florida government gives up on trying to remove several cities built atop tall stilts, Miami and many other low lying areas succeeded and formed our 53rd state. Everyone commutes on electric busses and barges and loves thier new sea homes. You can fish off your porch and the ocean is never more than a block away from everyone, not just the 1%.
  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Wednesday March 16, 2016 @01:13PM (#51708943) Homepage

    And the sea will be held back with a wall, and THE SEA WILL BE FORCED TO PAY FOR IT!!!

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