An octopus is splayed out in a Miami Beach parking garage, on 18 November 2016, after the latest King Tide captivated the internet, but a University of Miami associate biology professor said residents should get used to seeing sea creatures in traditionally dry spaces. Photo: Richard Conlin / Facebook / Miami Herald

By Alex Harris
18 November 2016

(Miami Herald) – The canary in the coal mine once served as a natural warning system in a bygone industrial era. Now, for Florida at least, maybe it ought to be the octopus in the parking garage.

Photos of an octopus splayed out in a flooded Miami Beach parking garage have been floating around the internet all week, prompting some skeptics to call “bogus” on both the discovery of the eight-legged creature out of its element and the force blamed for its appearance — climate change.

Both appear to be all too real. University of Miami associate biology professor Kathleen Sullivan Sealey examined the photos and identified the octopus as likely one of two species common in South Florida waters. And she said Miami Beach residents ought to get used to seeing strange new creatures making sporadic appearances as rising sea levels push ocean waters deeper and more frequently onto land, along with some of the creatures that live in them.

Richard Conlin, who lives at Mirador 1000 West, posted video of water spurting through his parking garage drains and photos of the octopus on Monday morning, during the latest king tide — a seasonal phenomenon exacerbated this month by a super moon. He did not respond to requests for comment, but he wrote on the Facebook post that he saw schools of fish alongside the slimy creature. […]

“This flooding to this extreme is new and gets worse each moon,” he wrote. “In the past the floor of the garage would be ‘damp’ but this extreme flooding is new.... in the past 6 months there has not been a single day without some type of water seepage in the garage.” […]

And it’s not just in Conlin’s building. Last year, a UM study found that tidal flooding in Miami Beach has increased 400 percent since 2006. [more]

Octopus in the parking garage is climate change’s canary in the coal mine

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