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Miami ‘Doomed’ by Sea Level Rise [Text and Audio]

Miami and much of south Florida will be “doomed” by sea level rise, leaving current residents with the prospect of moving inland as climate refugees, geologist Harold Wanless told CBC Sunday Edition December 14.

“Only 9% of Miami-Dade County is greater than 10 feet above sea level,” says Wanless, chair of the department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. “Only 3% of it is greater than 12 feet above sea level at normal high tide. And that, as sea level rises, makes us increasingly vulnerable, not only to inundation and sluggish drainage after rainfall, but also from exponentially accelerating danger from storm surges from hurricanes.”

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Sea levels will likely rise two metres, or as much as five metres, by 2100, Wanless notes. At a half-metre, the likely level by mid-century, Miami loses its freshwater resources.

“Once the sea level reaches a metre higher, all of South Florida’s infrastructure—roads, sewers, water treatment facilities, electricity, hospitals, schools—‘will have to be totally redone,’” CBC reports.