Miami — Why Worry?

Harvey Ruvin, Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts, has asked for a superfund to deal with the problem of sea level rise in the Miami area. And it’s all because sea level rise threatens $6 trillion worth of property. And the water supply, as saltwater continues to intrude into the groundwater. And the lives of millions of South Floridians.

Doesn’t he know? CO2 is plant food!

Sea level has already risen enough that when Miami gets a very high tide — which happens regularly — it floods. Sometimes quite badly (like, just recently). But don’t worry, Miami. After all, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush aren’t worried about that. They’re not scientists!

Besides, the miracle plant food CO2 will rescue you. Just plant a bunch of trees under all the big buildings in Miami. And under all the hotels. And under all the roads. And houses. Then, as the trees grow (which they’ll do super-fast because CO2 is plant food), they’ll lift the entire city above the rising tides due to global warming.

Besides, did you know that at its deepest the ocean is 12,100 feet deep? Why plot sea level in such an alarming fashion, like this for the data from Church & White:


Why not plot it as sea level above the deepest depths of the ocean, the “Challenger Deep” in the Marianis trench?


I’m sure Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush will enjoy that. Along with Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and all the rest of the republican presidential candidates.

As for heat waves — why worry? The more heat waves happen, and the hotter they get, the more air conditioning Miami-Dade residents and visitors will use. That’ll be a boom to the air-conditioning economy in south Florida. As for all the energy needed to power that extra air conditioning, it just gives us a chance to burn more fossil fuels, pumping more CO2 into the air, which will help all the trees under the buildings and hotels and roads and houses grow even faster … because CO2 is plant food.

15 responses to “Miami — Why Worry?

  1. Shouldn’t the sea level above the Challenger Deep be something like 11000 m and not 12000 feet? I think you are confusing metres and feet here.

  2. Indeed, why should the rest of us worry? Florida voted for sea-level rise, if only by a hanging chad.

  3. at its deepest the ocean is 12,100 feet deep

    Closer to that many metres.

  4. Correction needed: the deepest the ocean gets is the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific, at just under 11,000 m. Closer to Miami, the Puerto Rico Trench reaches depths of 8650 m.

    As for Ruvin, the popular 77-year old elected official doesn’t fit stereotypes. An industrial engineer by training, he’s also a conservationist and a Democrat in an office not always friendly to either. And the sea-level task force report he chaired is unambiguous about ses-level rise and greenhouse gases. See

    It remains to be seen whether prominent Florida Republicans will indignantly reject the plan and its call for federal funding. That they have no problem with federally-subsidized flood insurance and disaster relief suggests they might not.

    • For example, there is no waffling here (page 6 of the report):

      About 90% of the excess heat due to Greenhouse Effect warming is absorbed by the ocean rather than the atmosphere or land. The basic science is that as water warms, it expands. This effect, coupled with ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, are the fundamental causes of global sea level rise. In addition, as we lose reflective surface due to melting ice, we are seeing a feedback loop that increasingly reinforces the Greenhouse Effect and accelerates sea level rise.

  5. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse

    That’ll be a boom to the air-conditioning economy in south Florida.

    Yes – The smart money is in air conditioning.
    And that’s not just true in South Florida…

    It turns out that Judith Curry was right!

    Climate change is probably nothing to worry about – but even if it is, it’ll be a win-win for appliance-makers and power companies.

    And just imagine the uptick in the repair industry!
    Luis and Maria’s Fix-It Shop will expand from its single location on Sesame Street to thousands of franchise outlets across America – maybe even the whole world.

    And it’s only a matter of time before pedestrians and cyclists and babies in strollers will need AC just like cars.
    Think of the opportunities for those who are mavericky enough to invest early.

    Market forces will defeat climate forcing every time.

    And in the extremely unlikely event that it gets too hot for AC, we can always live in our refrigerators.

  6. Reblogged this on Hypergeometric and commented:
    “They’re nice scientists!”

  7. Everett F Sargent

    I am NOT a Sand Engineer! Never have been one and never will be one.

    However, there are those who have proclaimed Sand Engineering expertise …

    Shoreline Change in Response to Sea Level Rise on the Florida Southwest Coast

    Click to access HoustonFSBPA2015.pdf


    Note the “Conclusions” slide …

    The old switcheroo, switch the 2030 SLR sign for the 2050 SLR sign.

    Who knew it could be so simple?

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Miami is spending like $300 million to “hide” nuisance flooding …

    As very recent events have shown, some people were rightly upset where there weren’t any pumps, while elsewhere in Miami, people were rather ignorant of said installed pumps.

    Who knew it could be so simple?

    Meanwhile, back at the USACE Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill areas (funded entirely by Congress (and someone else who, more or less, had to sign said bill)) …
    Army Corps Awards Contract for Monmouth County NJ Coastal Project
    Update for Long Beach Island Beachfill

    Who knew it could be so simple?

    Brought to you by the ASBPA, the FSBPA and the NAR.

    I did not, do not and will not approve these messages.

    P. T. Barnum had a saying, or so I’ve been told …
    “Once a flatlander, always a flatlander.”

  8. The saddest excursion into people’s interactive mapping sites is looking at Miami’s future on Climate Central:

  9. Answer part 1: I’ve got it. We’ll just pump the water back into the ocean. Answer part 2: You’re going to need bigger pumps….a lot bigger pumps.

  10. Well, it’s simple, really.

    You drill lots of holes into the karst beneath Florida, all around the coastline.

    Then you pump in large (geologically large!) quantities of grout, to make an impermeable, waterproof barrier, all the way down to the bedrock.

    Then you build a seawall on top of this barrier, and install some pumps to pump out the excess water inside.

    Should only cost four or five times the US National GDP for a few decades, totally worth it to preserve the investment people have made in real estate in Florida.

  11. The problem, with the sea level graph, is that the past sea level rise does not look that impressive. The rise of 200mm in the last century amounts to 8 inches which doesn’t seem like much to the average person. If this continued for the next century, Miami wouldn’t look like it was in danger.

    It is the PROJECTED FUTURE sea level rise along with land subsidence due to the withdrawl of ground water, that spells doom for Miami. That makes it easier for AGW deniers to persuade people that the problem is being exaggerated. Real Estate in Miami is being sold at record prices, to people from all over the world.

  12. Florida would self proclaim Miami a future Superfund site in their own perverse way. Instead of attacking the actual cause of rising sea levels, they would rather spend money on treating symptoms of global warming instead of finding a cure to it.