A new study found that Miami Beach flood events have significantly increased over the last decade due to an acceleration of sea-level rise in South Florida.
The study, made by researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, analyzed tide and rain-gauge records, media reports, insurance claims, and photos of flooding events on Miami Beach and in Miami since 2006.
The results showed that the flooding frequency in Miami Beach has significantly increased after 2006 mainly due to increasing number of high-tide flooding events. The increased flooding frequency coincides with acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise in South Florida. The average rate of sea-level rise increased by 6 millimeters per year over the last decade - from 3 millimeters per year before 2006 to 9 millimeters per year after 2006.
The study also provides new evidence that connects the weakening of the Gulf Stream with sea-level rise along the US Atlantic coast.
Annual flooding occurrence in Miami Beach between 1998-2013 indicating a significant increase in tide flooding events (green) since 2006. Credit: Shimon Wdowinski, Ph.D.
Florida is one of the most vulnerable areas to sea-level rise in the US due to its low elevation, large population concentrations, and economic importance. Accelerated rates of sea-level rise have caused a significant increase in flooding frequency in several coastal communities in Florida.
Researchers suggest that regional sea-level projections should be used in place of global projections to better prepare for future flood hazards in the region.
- "Increasing flooding hazard in coastal communities due to rising sea level: Case study of Miami Beach, Florida" - Shimon Wdowinskia, Ronald Braya, Ben P. Kirtmana, Zhaohua Wub - June 2016 issue, Vol. 126 - Ocean and Coastal Management - doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.03.002
Featured image: Shimon Wdowinski, Ph.D.