sea level rise

Steve Rothaus/Miami Herald

New sea level rise projections for South Florida show an alarming trend: higher waters are coming faster than previously expected.

According to the Southeast Florida Climate Compact, seas could rise between one foot and two-and-a-half feet by 2060 – two to five inches more than 2015 projections.

Walter Michot / Miami Herald

New sea level rise projections for South Florida were released Wednesday. And the numbers are up.

On a satellite map, the Lake Wales Ridge stands out as a sandy spine running through the middle of Florida. From Clermont in the north, south almost to Lake Okeechobee, rolling hills give the area a very un-Florida-like feel.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

South Floridians could face water restrictions in 2020 because of a dry rainy season and low water levels in Lake Okeechobee, farmers and Everglades conservationists warned Tuesday.

If the water level drops even a few feet over the driest months, they expect a drought in the spring. During droughts, consumers must water lawns on alternate days, limit car washing and conserve water use in general.

City of Key West

Hurricanes and high water don't recognize the boundaries between counties.

The lagoon city of Venice — a unique experiment nurtured by man and nature — suffered heavy damage in November as floodwaters reached their highest peaks in more than 50 years.

But rising sea levels are not the only threat. As Venetians continue to leave their city, Venice risks becoming an empty shell sinking under mass tourism.

BAYVIEW HOMES

The last time the Florida building code changed, it required any new construction along the coast to elevate buildings a whole foot. Just three years later, that doesn’t look like enough. There’s a call to go up yet another foot.

Stephanie Russo / Monroe County

There's a big pot of money coming to Florida from the federal government to help communities hit hard by recent hurricanes be more resilient in future storms. The Keys are making the case for a good chunk of that money.

Katie Lepri/WLRN

Some of the most dramatic sea rise around South Florida has occurred in the last two decades: at least five inches near Virginia Key since 1992.

If you want to know what climate change will look like, you need to know what Earth's climate looked like in the past — what air temperatures were like, for example, and what ocean currents and sea levels were doing. You need to know what polar ice caps and glaciers were up to and, crucially, how hot the oceans were.

NOAA

The Gulf Stream, the warm current that brings the east coast of Florida the mixed blessings of abundant swordfish, mild winters and stronger hurricanes, maybe weakening because of climate change.

Visible from the air as a ribbon of cobalt blue water a few miles off the coast, the Gulf Stream forms part of a clockwise system of currents that transports warm water from the tropics up the east coast and across the Atlantic to northwestern Europe. In the frigid climate near Greenland, the water cools, sinks and flows south again, rolling through the deep ocean toward the tropics.

Emily Michot Miami Herald

More than a week's worth of King Tides set a new record at Virginia Key, running higher than the high tides during seasonal tides that typically hit in the fall.

For the last eight days, each high tide has set a new record for the day, said Brian McNoldy, a University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science senior researcher. At it's highest, on Aug. 2, the tide reached 2.55 feet, more than a foot above the daily average of 1.33 feet. 

Sea levels are rising, and that is sending more ocean water into streets, sewers and homes. For people who live and work in coastal communities, that means more otherwise-sunny days disrupted by flooding.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Climate change is the story of Florida’s future. No other state has as much at risk.

That’s why six of the leading news organizations in Florida have formed a partnership to share stories and work together to report on the complex challenges of climate change. The founding members include the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel and WLRN Public Media.

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