Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Miami Beach Acts To Control Sea Level Rise & Flooding - And Some Residents Howl

No photo description available.
Map of areas affected in Miami Beach, FL (From WSJ, March 11, p. A3)

The most ironic aspect of life in Miami Beach right now is that while climate experts praised its diversion of $1 b to tackle increased flooding, some local residents are up in arms about the plans. (See, 'Projects To Prevent Flooding Drive A Wede In Miami Beach',   WSJ, March 11, p. A3).    We know the moves being made in terms of the new infrastructure projects are necessary, given how the rise in sea level has been forecast to inundate this low lying island across Biscayne Bay from Miami, e.g.  this U.S. Geological Survey map for 2035:

Indeed,  a 2016 study in the Journal Ocean and Coastal Management found that the frequency of flooding had increased significantly from 2003 to 2016. This included rain-induced events jumping 33 percent while tide-induced events soared more than 400 percent.   

Consider the latter tide -induced events, which can be understood using the diagram below, though referenced for Barbados' latitude - given it's closer to the equator than Miami and hence easier to show:
No photo description available.It is not too difficult to see that the Moon will exert a force- call it F1,  on the near point A on Earth's surface- but a force F1  +  D F1  on the sea above.  Conversely, point B on the opposite side would be pulled - say with the force F2- again nearer to the Moon (given its closer differential distance relative to the sea above it), thereby inducing a high tide at B as well.   Basically, we have two separate pulls, with F1 > F2, resulting in two high tides at positions A and B.  The effect is significantly greater when the Moon is at perigee or its closest distance to Earth (by about 50,000 km).  That then enhances the differential gravitation effect to engender even higher tides, called "King tides".

Ordinarily, this situation wouldn't be critical, but now Miami Beach is experiencing flooding during such configurations, even on sunny days.   As the WSJ piece points out (ibid.), "the Sunset Harbor neighborhood was often flooded during the highest tides."

Logically, this area became the first one where the new preventive projects were implemented. What do they entail? Basically, raising the roads as much as 5 feet above sea level, and adding storm water pumps with generators the size of vans. Alas, the latter have been pilloried by some residents as an unsightly intrusion and a potential "drag on property values."

This then sets the stage for a conflict between the Beach's leaders and homeowners, in particular in respect of how far they can go in accommodating the latter's objections - say without undermining the city's long term viability. 

As usually happens, as in the case with the current pandemic, there are trade offs between economics and survival.   But as Chicago Mayor J.B. Pritzker put it, as we beheld too many on the Right bloviating about how the social distancing is "ruining our economy and livelihoods" during the pandemic:

"You can't have a livelihood if you don't have your life."

In the case of Miami Beach, the residents of all its neighborhoods will have to likewise grasp - sooner or later- that their property values (and properties) will be worthless in any case if the rising seas overtake them.  This is given Miami Beach lies on average only 4 feet above sea level, and the most conservative estimate for 2070 is a sea level rise of nearly 5 feet.

Residents would also do well to bear in mind that "the area has avoided 85 flooding incidents that would have occurred without the changes."  This according to Roy Coley, the city's public works director. 

Will the citizens of "the Beach" get this and understand these projects are for their own future (and current) benefit? Or will they dismiss the necessity like too many  'Muricans are doing now - going out and about, flouting social distance guidelines (likely waiting for Dotard's insane order to "set them free")-  as they cooperate in their (and our) impending destruction?

See Also:

Trump says he may soon push businesses to reopen, defying advice of public health officials

Trump is playing Russian roulette with Americans’ lives

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