Rising Sea Level specialist at the Florida International University Institute of Environment, Dr Jayantha Obeysekera, warned of the dangers of not applying the “science of projections into our planning” and that “we might be surprised to see that we are going to be flooded more frequently and probably retreat sooner than later,” as seen on Saturday in Miami.
The scientist explained that over 90 percent of the heat resulting from global warming is absorbed by the ocean producing melting from ice sheets, “Ice melts from ice sheets are going to add to the sea level rising significantly, and there are some uncertainties on those.”
The Seven Mile Bridge in Monroe County is one of the most extensive overseas bridges in existence, connecting the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys in Florida. With current rising sea levels, officials from Monroe County, headed by Chief Resilience Officer Rhonda Haag, pushed towards the decision of elevating roads in most of the endangered neighbourhoods.
“To prepare for the effects of climate change, which is, of course, sea-level rise as it continues to rise, we need to have sound engineering options and projects in place to help us deal with, to become more resilient in terms of road elevation and facility elevation,” stated Haag.
The elevation plan has been highly anticipated by residents, such as Emilie Stewart which commented that her neighbourhood, Stillwright Point, was flooded “for a total of 94 straight days,” in the past two years.
Latest projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report an increase in sea level height of up to 40cm (16 inches) by 2024.