SLR-Miami close-upTiffany Troxler takes a right turn from Miami Beach’s Purdy Avenue onto 20th Street and spots her destination, a perfect example of the consequences of sea level rise.

“Right there,” she says. “Do you see the two steps leading into the Publix? It used to be seven steps.”

It’s hard to fathom it, looking at the stairway, just a couple long, black-and-gray tile steps leading up to the entrance of the supermarket. But the city of Miami Beach has built up the road so high to prevent flooding that the staircase had to be shortened by five steps. Troxler points out other buildings that now sit several feet below the new street level; stairways now lead down to their entrances, patios and front walkways. New drains to funnel away water sit near doorways. Then Troxler points to an industrial-looking, squat structure smack in the middle of the road, bannisters directing traffic around it.

“And that is a pump station. It will be one of 60 pumps all around the beach,” she says. During high tides and heavy rains, when many Miami Beach neighborhoods used to end up swamped, the new pumps should keep the streets dry by pumping out 14,000 gallons of water a minute.

This novel approach to keeping the ocean from swamping neighborhoods is exactly the kind of thing Troxler is working on in the new FIU Sea Level Solutions Center. The goal of the center, above all else, will be collaborations and tangible solutions to combat the effects of global climate change.

“If you think about it, we put ourselves in this mess,” said Troxler, an aquatic ecologist in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education and director of the center. “If we put ourselves in this, we can come up with a way to get ourselves out of it.” Read More >>

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