Florida vs. Sea Level Rise

By: Delaney Reynolds

“More than any other state in the U.S., Florida faces the risk of significant losses of private property as climate change continues to drive sea level rise.”

 Risky Business Project / Come Heat and High Water, July 28, 2015

A warming planet impacts all sorts of things from rising temperatures, people’s health, food sources and our energy needs, to placing people and property at risk of death and destruction. According to the Bureau of the Census 2012’s statistics, Florida is now America’s third largest state with nearly 20,000,000 residents, and the largest state in the Southeast segment of our country and according to ‘Visit Florida’, Florida has over 8,400 miles of beaches. A new report from the Risky Business Project, a non-partisan group that focuses on the economics of climate change, provides some alarming estimates for the future of the Sunshine State, including:

  • Over the past 30 years Florida has experienced an average of seven (7) daysper year with temperatures above 95 degrees.
  • Scientists predict that somewhere between the years 2020 and 2039, thus in five to 24 years, Florida will experience as many as 32 daysa year with temperatures above 95 degrees.
  • Scientists also predict that by mid-century Florida will experience as many as 76 days a year with temperatures above 95 degrees, thus nearly 11 times more extreme hot weather days than is the case at this time.


 “Much of Florida’s critical infrastructure—including roads, railways, ports, airports, and oil and gas facilities—sits at low elevations, and large portions of Miami are built on porous limestone that allows seawater to inundate inland areas even in the presence of physical barriers. 

At Miami, mean sea level will likely rise 0.8 to 1.3 feet by 2050 and 2.0 to 3.6 feet by 2100.”

 “Florida faces more risk than any other state that private, insurable property could be inundated by high tide, storm surge and sea level rise.”

 Risky Business Project / Come Heat and High Water, July 28, 2015

florida 2

Rising sea levels are predicted to have a significant impact on property and infrastructure and the new report vividly illustrates this growing exposure and just how soon the risk will grow. Consider these projections;

  • By 2030, in just 15 years, it is estimated that $ 69 Billion in coastal property (buildings, homes, high rises, roads and other infrastructure) will be at risk from rising seas at high tidethat is not at risk today. At mean sea level these same losses are predicted to be at least $ 15 Billion.  By 2050, in just 35 years, it is estimated that these values at risk by being below high tide levels will grow to $ 152 Billion. At mean sea level these same losses are predicted to be at least $ 23 Billion.
  • In addition to high tide exposures, storm surge from a tropical storm or hurricane will further place Florida property at risk. In fact, based on estimates of future population, historic storm activity and construction growth storm related losses are predicted to rise by $ 1.3 Billion per year by 2030 and by $ 4 Billion per year by 2050. Based on these estimates Florida exposure to property damage from storm surge alone could be as much as $ 17 Billion (or higher) by mid-century. These estimates, however, do not take into account that a warming planet could produce more and larger storms as some scientist have predicted might happen.

A warming planet and the impact this is having on sea levels is growing by the day. The sooner we pay attention to the scientific expert’s concerns the sooner we can begin to create serious solutions to help diminish the future impact of sea level rise.



Illuminating Tweets: Northern Lights Tracked via Twitter

By: Maria Vargas

The northern lights are caused by a mass expulsion from the sun. These solar storms send a stream of charged particles toward Earth. Our planet’s magnetic field deflects these particles creating a wind filled with particles. The different colors of the aurora are caused by the various gasses in the atmosphere. The most common colors seen are green and red aurora lights which are formed from collisions with oxygen.

Spotting the aurora borealis have been getting easier thanks to Twitter. People have been getting so amused by these lights that they stay up all night to track them down. Tweets provide accurate and timely alerts on the appearance on auroras. Many scientists such as one from NASA, monitors the auroral activity through tweets. Another famous tracking website is Auroasaurus.org. Fanatics can download it via the app store and follow up with aurora sightings. There people can post photos and receive real-time aurora alerts. The website also scans tweets that are aurora reports and posts it in the website.

aureo borealis

Source: http://www.livescience.com/50840-mapping-aurora-from-twitter.html

Nearly 200 Whales Stranded on New Zealand Beach

By: Mercedes Pliego

Picture of a worker tending to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings, in Golden Bay on New Zealand's South Island

Rescuers tried to save about 200 pilot whales that were stranded on New Zealand’s South Island. There were at least two dozen whales that were reported dead. Pilot whales are at risk for group standing because they are social animals and they usually live in close-knit family groups. The techniques used to rescue stranded whales depend on the remoteness of the site. These whales are at a huge risk because they are designed to live in water, so when they are stranded on a beach their internal organs which aren’t used to having that weight on them, they sadly start getting crushed.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150213-pilot-whales-stranded-new-zealand/

Two new volcanic islands emerge in Red Sea

By: Emily Himes

Undersea eruptions have formed two volcanic islands in the Red Sea near Yemen, which have been named Sholan and Jadid.  Sholan was created in 2011 by a volcanic eruption that lasted 25 days. Jadid was created in 2013 by a 54 day eruption. These two islands have shed light on the presence of a “magmatically active zone that previously escaped notice.”

Source: CBS News

Santa Barbara Beaches Slicked With Oil After Pipeline Breach

By: Mercedes Pliego

Picture of Santa Barbara oil spill

Mark Tautrim was one of the first witnesses to an oil spill that reached many beaches, and one of California’s most ecological important shorelines. In California a broken pipeline off Goleta, spilled an estimated 21,000 gallons of heavy black oil into the Pacific Ocean. Due to the oil, authorities were forced to shut down the popular state beach and campground as Memorial Day weekend is almost coming. It is near protected nesting grounds of an endangered bird. Authorities aren’t sure what caused the leak in the underground pipeline, but oil bubbled to the surface on land across Highway 101, then poured from a culvert onto Refugio State Beach.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150520-santa-barbara-oil-spill-pipeline-ocean-coast-whale-1969/

Baby Spiders fall from the sky, cover the ground with “angel hair” in Australia

Citizens of Albury in South Wales, Australia, witnessed baby spiders and their webs completely covering the ground. A rare occurrence took place, called “ballooning” in which spiders float down from the sky. This happens during May and August in the outback when “spiders throw their webs up into the air, moving in large formations through the sky.” Keith Basterfield, who has taken great interest in these balloonings, says that you know one has taken place if you see long threads, or “angel hair” covering buildings, telephone poles, and power lines.

Source: Fox News spidersweb.jpg

‘Crazy Craters’ Found in Swiss Lake

By: Maria Vargas

In the muddy floor of one of Switzerland’s largest lakes, four giant craters were found. The biggest crater recorded was 525 feet wide and 100 feet deep. According to a doctoral student, these craters are springs. The team used ship-based sonar to search for sediments within the craters. How the craters were formed is still a mystery, however the pits appear to be spitting mud eruptions violently. These mud eruptions leave behind a layer of sediment that resembles to lava flows. However, the last huge mud eruption in that region happened around 1,600 years ago. Now a days, this crazy crater is filled with wet mud. Scientists believe that there is a connection between the mud eruption and the Jura Mountains.  It is believed that there exists an underground network of limestone caves and cracks.

Crazy crater

Source: http://www.livescience.com/50890-craters-discovered-in-lake-neuchatel.html