Development continues in Miami despite future sea level rise inundation

Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant threatened by sea level rise © UNISDR, 2015

United States of America

In Miami, rising sea levels and regular storm surges are already combined with exceptional geology and a weak sewage system, leading to recurrent flooding in parts of the city and contamination of drinking water supplies. In the future, further sea level rise will mean that parts of the world’s busiest cruise ship port as well as the city’s waterfront and the city’s prime real estate will be submerged, as sea levels are estimated to rise by 2 feet (more than half a metre) by 2060.

Storm surges like the one experienced during Hurricane Wilma in 2005 are likely to happen more often. With only a one-foot rise in the sea level along Miami-Dade’s coast, the probability of a 7-foot storm surge such as the one observed in Hurricane Wilma is expected to increase from 1 in 76 years to 1 in 21 years.

However, development still continues in the area, and the construction of two new reactors at an ageing nuclear power plant south of Miami is being considered by the State Senate despite the high likelihood of it being affected by a sea level rise in just a few years.