Sea-level rise is beginning to impact everyday life for some neighborhoods in South Florida: roads flood, insurance prices rise, and cities and counties ask voters to help pay for adaptation projects. There may soon be impacts to the Internet.
But the water's rising only millimeters at a time. And the majority of people here don't experience serious flooding.
That's why scientists, policymakers and non-profits worried about the region's future are trying to figure out how to get more South Floridians to care.
One idea? Having "citizen scientists" help with research on the rising sea.
On Saturday, Florida International University is hosting a "Sea Level Solutions Day" in Miami-Dade County. The public is invited to help FIU researchers collect water samples and take photographs of King Tide flooding.
"We're collecting information to better understand where and when flooding is occurring at a local level," said Tiffany Troxler, director of science at FIU's Sea Level Solutions Center. "It gives us information on depth of flooding, whether there's salt in that water. We do some sampling of nutrients, and we try to get an idea of whether there's bacteria in the water."
Participants will start from the Miami Rowing Club on Key Biscayne, where they'll receive sampling kits and training from the scientists. They'll go to sites throughout Miami-Dade to take water samples and photos for an app. Troxler says the data will be used to improve maps of where and when flooding occurs. Registration is required.
The project is in conjunction with FIU's "Eyes on the Rise" project, where residents can enter an address and see how much a foot (or two or three) of sea-level rise might impact their home.