Every fall when the king tides roll in, the most obvious sign of climate change asserts itself in South Florida: flooding everywhere, from submerged roads in Miami to waves washing across neighborhoods in the Keys to swamped docks and yards in Fort Lauderdale’s canal-side homes. But beyond the flooding, a more insidious problem is at work. South Florida’s water is changing.
Under climate change projections, beaches and bays that draw tourists and anglers and help fuel a booming real estate industry could grow saltier and more polluted. Underground saltwater is already spoiling the aquifer and moving closer to drinking water supplies for six million residents. In its simplest terms, climate change is threatening the state’s most vital resource: water.
“People think that when they see the city flooded by seawater, it’s water from the beach. It’s not,” said FIU hydrologist Henry Briceño. “Those waters are problematic. They are not good.”
Briceño’s team will be back out this week when another king tide is forecast, gathering water samples that will help clear up the still murky impacts. Part two in a series. More information >>