Can the Florida Keys be saved?

Can the Florida Keys be saved?

As sea levels rise, officials in South Florida weigh whether to spend billions protecting homes and roads – or to surrender them to the sea. Watch the video Projections point to more than three feet of sea-level rise by 2100, posing deep challenges for one of the U.S.’s most iconic tourist sites – the Florida Keys, where in many places residences, highways, and infrastructure are at less than three feet. Moreover, those 2100 projections “almost give you a false sense of complacency,” cautions scientist and 2019 MacArthur “genius” fellowship winner Andrea Dutton. She says in this month’s Yale Climate Connections “This Is Not Cool” video that extreme storms affecting the Keys will occur “with increasing frequency as you approach 2100,” and well before that three-foot average rise takes hold. ‘I can see what’s coming, and it’s miserable.’ Dutton expresses concerns that the public may not be “in the right mindset” concerning time projections for rising sea levels. “You can’t just pick up cities and move them,” she says. “There’s going to be some amount of adaptation, there’s going to be some amount of retreat” leading up to the period when that overall three-foot average is, as they say, “the new normal.” Dutton, for eight years with the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida, now continues her research with the University of Wisconsin’s Geoscience Department. “Snow is fun,” she said in a fall 2019 U.W. announcement of her move from sunny Gainesville to often frosty Madison. Explaining to those curious about her move from the Atlantic coast to the Midwest, she said “I look at these sea-level projections all the time. I can see what’s coming, and it’s miserable.” Dutton is far from alone in expressing concerns about the impacts of sea-level rise for the Florida Keys. […]

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