Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1st Order Effects of Climate Change Becoming Evident in Miami Beach

In November 2013, a full moon and high tides led to flooding in parts of the city, including here at Alton Road and 10th Street. Photograph: Corbis
For those of us in the earth sciences it is kind of mind-boggling to believe that some people still think that climate change is a hoax foisted on us only by liberals or communists. There is a billion-year record of climate change that exists in the rock record and it clearly shows that Earth's climate is subject to change. And there is a multi-thousand year record of climate change preserved in Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Anyone paying attention can see that the climate changes through time. And these changes occur on multiple scales from millennia to decades.

But apparently, there is lots of money to be made sucking petroleum out of the ground and burning it so that the modern world can hum along and a few worrisome details like warming of the planet simply  must not get in the way.

This interesting article first appearing in The Guardian newspaper highlights what may be some of the first evidence for 1st order effects of climate change - dramatic sea level rise. Take a look and see what is happening in Miami Beach, Florida.

Low-lying houses in Miami Beach are especially vulnerable. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images


  1. I find all sort of people from all varying political ideologies and philosophies deny any sort of climate change. I hate the ideological political infighting I keep reading about over in the United States as from my view I haven't found many differences on the street level with the common people. Both political ideologies are shackled to building and growing the economy. If they don't accomplish this, they don't get elected. Over the years I have found hypocrisy on both sides who claim to support either environmental issues or so-called traditional values issues. Politicians on both sides will play whatever flavour will get them elected within the cultural personal they reside in. Neither of these sides has the answers for the environment to me.

    Communists by their historical track record and by definition have never been concerned with anything environmental. Look at what is left of those countries who were so-called true communistic and their present obsession with Capitalism. Despite paying lip service to Global Warming or Climate Change at these so-called conferences around the world, their actual actions speak louder than their hypocritical religious affirmations.

    People actually don't need a Scientist to tell them something is going terribly wrong. I run across numerous immigrants who are illiterate as compared to industrial folks on the education level, and were basically peasant dirt farmers either from Africa, India, S. America etc, who inform me that they have noticed that seasonal climate patterns are no longer normal and that farming the land in certain regions is no longer productive as it has been for centuries. Most people in the industrial nations are horribly disconnected to life out there in the natural world. Other scientific discoveries and technological innovations such as various electronics have accomplished this. There is a consumer addiction as never before. Since the fall of communism and exposure of the poorer developing world to the scientific advances which improve comfort and lifestyle, cultures everywhere who have suffered for centuries without, suddenly ALL want a piece of the pie also. The Earth cannot supply every human being on the surface with all the resources needed to satisfy those needs, which as you know, once met, they will always desire more. That's just the nature of materialism, something that most are blinded to.

    On my last trip to the southwest back in May/June and first week of July, I revisited an area I had personal first hand know and fondness of in eastern San Diego county. Over three decades, I've watched this particular area go down hill and as time progresses, it is picking up speed. Sort of like a point of no return. Here is is below. One of the reasons I loved this particular valley is that it so reminded me of many beautiful places in Arizona. But it's almost totally disappeared in most areas.

    Scissors Crossing & San Felipe Creek Revisited (2014)


  2. Every disbeliever needs to purchase a copy of "Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau" and thumb through its paleo-maps to see that climate change throughout the Phanerozoic is nothing new.

  3. Wayne, please don't lump all geologists with you. I'm a geologist and a geophysicist by training with 20+ years of work in the field. It's not "climate change" or "global warming" that we "evil deniers" are skeptical about, it's "anthropogenic climate change", or "man-made global warming" that we're skeptical about. Sure, the sea level has risen about 10" in Miami in the last century, but according to the NOAA chart at Sea Level Trends - Miami Beach, Florida - NOAA Tides & Currents
    the trend is linear and does not correlate with CO2 nor with temperature trends. It's just a continuing change that's part of the current interglacial.

    Do we know how much subsidence there has been in the Miami area as a result of groundwater withdrawal for human consumption?

  4. Angus - Thank you very much for your cogent comment. Indeed, geologists are the kind of people who are not often satisfied with an expected or predicted cause. They rather enjoy coming up with other or all possibilities. Your hunch that maybe subsidence could be going on here is a good postulation.

    Still, a 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations since 1850 is hard to ignore. It's pretty simple to calculate the physics of an increase in CO2 with a greenhouse planet.

    I wonder if anyone has looked at a correlation between "closeness to the resources industries" and/or political affiliation, to the level to which someone either "believes" or "doesn't believe??" It's my impression that we could accurately predict someone's "closeness to the resources industries" or their political affiliation, by only looking at the degree to which (or how strongly) they think it is human caused or "natural."

  5. Wayne, you state "It's pretty simple to calculate the physics of an increase in CO2 with a greenhouse planet." Unfortunately, we don't live on a CO2-greenhouse planet. CO2 increases LAG temperature increases by hundreds of years (+/-800?) in the geologic record, which to me doesn't suggest that CO2 is causing the warming. Perhaps a good part of the increase in CO2 since 1850 is a response to coming out of the Little Ice Age after the Maunder Minimum.


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