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Climate change is impacting so much around us: heat, flooding, health, wildlife, housing, and more. WUSF, in collaboration with the Florida Climate Reporting Network, is bringing you stories on how climate change is affecting you.

Study Finds "Extreme" Sea Level Rise Could Displace Entire South Florida Cities By 2100

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, monitors weather and climate change for the federal government. It predicts about one foot of sea level rise by 2100 under the best case scenario, and more than eight feet of sea level rise in the so-called “extreme” scenario. That’s prompted a study that shows what extreme sea level rise could look like in South Florida.

 

The non-profit, independent research group Climate Central conducted this study. It says under worst-case conditions of 10 to 12 feet of sea level rise, 29 percent of Floridians would be displaced by 2100. But in some South Florida cities, displacement rates could be much, much higher. For example, 100 percent of Hialeah, Homestead, Miami Beach, Doral and Pembroke Pines residents could be at risk of having to seek higher ground.

 

NOAA says there’s a less than two percent chance that seas will rise more than five feet before the end of the century. In a January report, its researchers said sea level rise and the rising temperatures that cause it can be limited by taking carbon out of the atmosphere. It’s not clear how that might happen.

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A map from the Climate Central study shows how the greater Miami area could be impacted if rising seas reach NOAA's "extreme" projection. Areas in blue are submerged.
Climate Central /
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A map from the Climate Central study shows how the greater Miami area could be impacted if rising seas reach NOAA's "extreme" projection. Areas in blue are submerged.

A map from the Climate Central study shows how south Miami-Dade County could be impacted if rising seas reach NOAA's "extreme" projection. Areas in blue are submerged.
Climate Central /
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A map from the Climate Central study shows how south Miami-Dade County could be impacted if rising seas reach NOAA's "extreme" projection. Areas in blue are submerged.

A map from the Climate Central study shows how Key West and nearby keys could be impacted if rising seas reach NOAA's "extreme" projection. Areas in blue are submerged.
Climate Central /
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A map from the Climate Central study shows how Key West and nearby keys could be impacted if rising seas reach NOAA's "extreme" projection. Areas in blue are submerged.

Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.