Sea levels are starting to rise faster: Here’s how much South Florida is expecting

Sea levels are starting to rise faster: Here’s how much South Florida is expecting

In the last 80 years, sea level rise has risen about a foot, with 8 inches of that total in the last 30 years, said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s best estimates, that pace is expected to speed up—dramatically.

It took about 80 years for the first foot. The second one will only take 30 years. The next, 20 years. And Florida could see the next foot in merely a decade after that.

That’s according to NOAA’s “intermediate-high” projection of sea level rise. The agency created a range of predictions—low, intermediate-low, intermediate, intermediate-high and high—to estimate what sea level rise could look like in places like Florida.

So far, scientists have found that we’re trending toward the high end of those predictions.

“Presently, sea level is tracking in the intermediate-high to high, the two fastest,” said Randall Parkinson, a coastal geologist with Florida International University. “The other three scenarios, you might not even think about because we’re already rising faster than that.”

Those are the same predictions used by South Florida governments when deciding how high to build new developments. But after a new bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis this year, local governments hoping for state money for sea rise projects have to only consider the intermediate-low and intermediate scenarios, a downgrade from previous legislation that asked them to consider intermediate-low and intermediate-high scenarios.