Miami Has More Assets To Lose From Climate Change, Rising Seas Than Any Other City, New Study Says

Climate Central analysis says human-caused climate change and rising sea levels are accelerating

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    The odds have more than doubled that South Florida will be hit within 28 years by storm surges of historic proportion, according to a new analysis by Climate Central. Sharlene Leurig and Hal Wanless discuss some of its implications with NBC 6's Jeff Burnside. (Published Thursday, Mar 15, 2012)

    The odds have more than doubled that South Florida will be hit within 28 years by storm surges of historic proportion, according to a new analysis by Climate Central.

    The analysis by the non-partisan advocacy group says that human-caused climate change and rising sea levels are accelerating – and that Miami has more to lose in terms of assets than any city in the world.

    More than Shanghai, Mumbai, New York, and more than New Orleans.

    The study says that storm surges will reach much farther inland than they do now – not a far-off future risk, but perhaps during the life of the mortgage you hold now in Hollywood, for example, or Miami Shores.

    “South Florida is really the canary in the coal mine for the United States,” said Sharlene Leurig of Ceres, who works with industries on climate change.

    She thinks investors should note what South Florida counties anticipate. When she sees a new high-rise going up on the coast, Leurig says, “I want to know whether or not they’ve planned for those 7 inches of sea level rise, and more, over the life of that investment. I want to know that."

    Acclaimed scientist Hal Wanless says that most of our flood control structures won’t function within 18 years, and heavy rains won’t drain easily.

    “By 2070, 2080, we’ll probably be at 3- or 4-feet sea level rise. And by that time, Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be a much diminished place,” says Wanless, a climate scientist at the University of Miami. “There’s almost no way around it. I used to think that this was something my kids would probably have to deal with. But now, it’s unbelievable. I’m not even sure we have a full mortgage cycle that’s safe, if you’re in the low-lying areas.”

    Click here to use Climate Central’s interactive map, which lets you see the sea level rise and flooding you could possibly see in your neighborhood.