Mean higher water levels at Virginia Key, projected to the year 2060. Graphic: City of Miami Beach

By Chiamaka Nwakeze
30 May 2014

(Science Recorder ) – Eighteen American scientific societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have reached a consensus on global warming, namely that it is occurring and is largely attributable to human activities. These rising temperatures create significant changes in weather patterns across the globe, resulting in stronger hurricane storms, loss of natural habitats, species extinctions and rising sea levels.

In Miami Beach, Henry Briceño, a professor at Florida International University’s Southeast Environmental Research Center, has been trying to raise awareness on how global warming is affecting his own community.

Briceño has begun to sample the water around Miami Beach and has found high levels of nutrients such as nitrogen, which indicates that the quality of the water is poor. And like many scientists, Briceño, believes that the poor water quality is a result of climate change and global warming.

Climate change does occur in cycles, Briceño notes. For example, there have been five known ice ages in Earth’s history. The problem, Briceño says, is that human activities have accelerated these cycles resulting in rising sea levels that might eventually devastate coastal regions.

Given that Miami Beach is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the city has devoted nearly $400 million to rebuild streets and install pumps that might drain the water from tidal floods. However, Miami Beach city manager warns that these efforts will only keep the city dry for 40 to 50 years and so presents a temporary solution to a serious problem.

Unfortunately, some politicians and representatives refuse to acknowledge the role of human activity in causing climate changes. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida has even said that he will not support any laws that raise the cost of fossil fuels despite evidence that the burning of fossil fuels increases carbon dioxide, which in turn raises the temperature of the Earth. [more]

Miami's rising sea level is an enormous problem

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