What might we expect to see happening to the environment we live in due to the effects of global warming in Florida through the coming century? This article takes a look at the possibilities that will become certainties unless we change and we do it now!
Sea level may rise 16-30 inches along the Florida coast. Coastal cities will be forced to build expensive seawalls to protect property. Many low-lying areas will permanently or regularly flooded. Freshwater aquifers in coastal areas will be threatened. Severe beach erosion will adversely affect the state's $50-billion annual tourism economy.
Temperatures are likely to increase 4-10°, and the heat index (the mixture of temperature and humidity) is likely to increase 10-25°. Health affects include increased cases of heat stress and heat stroke, respiratory illnesses due to more air pollution and ozone, and possible resurgence of tropical diseases such as malaria. Rivers, lakes and coastal waters will be plagued with more incidents of alga blooms and red tide.
Senior citizens, who will account for 1 in 4 Floridians by 2030, will be the most impacted age group. They are most susceptible to health problems, plus many live in coastal areas that may be eroded. Florida is the nation's leading retirement state, and seniors account for over $70-billion annually of the state economy.
Longer and more intense periods of drought can be expected, increasing danger from wildfires that threaten our communities and homes.
Coral reefs are already declining in the Keys, and increased water temperatures and water depth are expected to lead to further coral bleaching and reef loss.
The sugarcane and tomato crops can expect severe production declines from higher temperatures and salt water intrusion. Citrus in south Florida may eventually decline as temperatures exceed optimum growing conditions.
These are just some of the ways in which rising temperatures globally may have a profound effect on life in this state over the coming decades if we do nothing to change the way in which we continue to pollute our atmosphere and fail to reduce our carbon emissions.