Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Key West's Sea Level Rise

Perhaps you read the NYT article on sea level rise in Key West, Florida. (Or, as Esquire put it, "The Great Chinese Climate Hoax Is Recreating Venice in the Florida Key.") People there have been dealing with sea level for almost three months now. I looked for the sea level data for Key West, and October had the highest value ever.

click to enlarge

Sea level there is about 210 mm (8 inches) higher than last October. Another view is

click to enlarge

Right now I'm not in the mood to calculate the error bars. Calculation of error bars is left as an exercise for the reader.

Residents there want their roads raised:
Monroe County, Florida
Elevating a third of the county’s 300 miles of roads could cost $1 billion, Ms. Haag said. “We are the most vulnerable county in the state, if not the nation.”
That works out to $1,900 per foot. Monroe County, Florida has about 78,000 residents, but Key West is only 25,000. So a billion dollars to raise roads is $40,000 per resident. It seems to me difficult to justify that, for a place that is going under anyway. (If the roads don't, beaches and yards and parking lots will. What about freshwater? What about insurance? Who would write a mortgage on any building there put up for sale?) But I don't expect that would stop the federal government, who is going to face a lot of these situations and will want to look like they're doing something, at least to stop the clamor. And there'll be a lot of sympathy for vulnerable residents -- at least until the costs get too high. It's a difficult situation and will be ever more dire. In a hundred years the thing most remembered about Trump will be his idiocy and (by then) criminality on climate change.

What do you think?

PS: In 2016 Monroe County voted 51.0% for Trump, 44.1% for HClinton.


Ned said...

So, the linear increase is significant and positive.
And the acceleration is significant and positive.
And the jerk (rate of change in acceleration) is significant and positive.

Interesting to note this in light of the North Carolina state law banning projections of sea level rise that incorporate acceleration. In reality, not only is there acceleration, the rate of acceleration (jerk) is also increasing.

So temporary and partial adaptation to one single manifestation of climate change in a single small community is going to cost $40,000 per person.

Climate change is going to be way more expensive than people realize.

David in Cal said...

Key West's problem has nothing to do with President Trump's refusal to cut CO2 emissions. There is essentially nothing the US can do for poor Key West by cutting emissions. The impact of any US action would be too gradual to help.


David Appell said...

David, but by acting Trump could prevent some amount of future sea level rise. Right now he's purposely creating more.

Also, I have to wonder how much his administration will pay for adaptation for places like Key West. He could be funding research in carbon dioxide removal and other ideas.

Or he could just acknowledge the problem and acknowledge people's suffering. That would be something. That's what a leader would do, at the very least.

David Appell said...

Thanks Ned - I didn't know that the derivative of acceleration is called "jerk!"

Ned said...

Gotta love how David in Cal points out that anything the US could do to control emissions would be too gradual to save the Florida Keys ...

... while simultaneously using his posts here to ensure that any action taken is as minimal and gradual as possible.

It may be too late to stop AGW from destroying the Keys, but there's some place else that could be saved by acting now, or lost if we delay.

And it's DiC's mission to make sure we delay. And delay. And delay.

David Appell said...

Ned, I agree. This is why one of my favorite quotes about AGW is this:

"Today we face the possibility that the global environment may be destroyed, yet no one will be responsible. This is a new problem."

- Dale Jamieson, “Ethics, Public Policy, and Global Warming,” Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 139-153.