Unified Sea Level Projection for S. Florida
This study was prepared for the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Climate Leadership Committee by a diverse group of experts. It is most relevant to Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties.
2019 PROJECTION AND SUMMARY This Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida updated in 2019 projects the anticipated range of sea level rise for the region from 2000 to 2120 (Figure 1). The projection highlights three planning horizons:
- Short term: by 2040, sea level is projected to rise 10 to 17 inches above 2000 mean sea level.
- Medium term: by 2070, sea level is projected to rise 21 to 54 inches above 2000 mean sea level.
- Long term: by 2120, sea level is projected to rise 40 to 136 inches above 2000 mean sea level.
Impacts on Infrastructure and Communities
Sea level rise will increase the frequency and impact of other hazards:
- Storm surge
- Canal and tidal flooding
- Groundwater and stormwater flooding
- Salt water intrusion
- Shoreline erosion
- Wave action
Adapting to Sea Level Rise
As Miami-Dade County works to reduce its carbon footprint and stop fueling climate change, it must also prepare for the impacts that we know are unavoidable, including sea level rise. The County is working to strengthen infrastructure, plan for more resilient communities, enhance natural protections and promote economic resilience through policies and task forces.
- The Sea Level Rise Task Force provided direction for the County’s sea level rise adaptation efforts, resulting in a series of reports:
- Executive summary
- Flooding and saltwater intrusion
- Adaptation action
- Environmentally endangered lands
- Enhanced capital plan
- Climate Change Advisory Task Force
- Resilient transportation system
- Septic Systems vulnerable to sea level rise
- Vulnerability of Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Infrastructure to Sea Level Rise
- Regarding Sea Level Rise Impacts on the Agricultural Community
- Vulnerability of Water and Sewer Infrastructure and Road Infrastructure to Sea Level Rise
- Capital Project Overview and the Rapid Action Plan. Miami-Dade County requires that all capital projects consider the impacts of sea level rise, per Resolution No. R-451-14. In 2017, the County assessed the vulnerability of its assets to ensure the capital planning process incorporated changing flood risks due to sea level rise and heightened storm surge. Dubbed the Rapid Action Plan, the project analyzed the vulnerability of more than 700 County-owned assets and evaluated their criticality to departmental operations
- Adaptation Action Areas. The County’s pilot Adaptation Action Area was the Arch Creek Basin. In 2016, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) hosted an advisory services panel that produced a final report which focused on the area’s flood challenges. In advance of that panel, the County published a briefing book. In 2015, ULI’s recommendations were taken further through a Resilient Redesign III charrette aimed at enhancing the resilience of three low-lying areas within the Arch Creek basin. The final presentation showcases the ideas of the design teams. In 2017, with support from the Knight Foundation, the County partnered with Citymart to launch a Flood Resilience Challenge. The County is now implementing our Sea Level Rise Strategy through Adaptation Action Areas(AAAs). The first AAA is in the Little River area of Miami-Dade County. AAAs allow for a more customized and detailed approach of adapting to sea level rise for individual areas and neighborhoods
- Local Mitigation Strategy. Local mitigation strategy projects handled by Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue and Emergency Management are designed to reduce our vulnerability to short-term risks like hurricanes and long-term stresses like sea level rise
- Infrastructure improvements include raising roads, installing pump stations, protecting existing buildings with temporary flood panels and building new infrastructures higher. Saltwater intrusion is also being addressed. Salt water is pushing further landward into the fresh water Biscayne Aquifer, which is increasing the vulnerability of the region’s drinking water. Rising sea levels also push salt water further into the Everglades, potentially causing loss of wetland plants and habitat. Salinity control structures have been built at the entrances of major canals to separate fresh water and salt water and canals have been restored through plug barriers. Explore the Sea Level Rise story map to learn more
- Nature-based solutions such as beach renourishment, shoreline restoration for living shorelines like mangroves and dune restoration, protection of open buffer space through parks and the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, and protection of mangrove forests and other wetlands of the Everglades to provide a protective buffer against storms and long-term sea level rise. The County has also built artificial reefs to keep ecosystems healthy and support fishing industries