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Will You be Underwater When Sea Levels Rise? Find Out Here

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A web app created by professors and students at the FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communications, merging data from the Google Elevation Service with calculations made by scientist Peter Harlem at FIU's GIS Center, shows the potential effects of sea level rise across South Florida in incredible detail. While the data does "not account for erosion, subsidence, or future construction" we are able to see the impacts of a 0-6 foot sea level rise in South Florida in rather incredible detail. So, if sea levels rise by six feet, what survives and what doesn't?

The answer of course is a tad complicated, and everything is also just an estimate. The maps also show the effects at the highest of high tides. Much of Dade County (and even more of Broward, although the data focuses on Dade) is definitely under water, but a sizable chunk of land, including many of the most densely populated areas, remains dry. Miami turns into an archipelago to mirror Miami Beach. A small sliver of Miami Beach remains, near the ocean where the dunes, the highest natural land, and the biggest hotels are. The Fontainebleau will probably be ok, and so will the Loews. Although, with no infrastructure to service them, that might be another story. At an elevation of about five and a half to six feet above current sea levels, most of Ocean Drive will be underwater by at least a few inches. West Avenue is worse off. That street will be about four feet underwater.

A massive increase in inland waterways (many following the course of the Miami River) will lead to the drowning of huge swaths of the western part of the county, which makes sense because all those suburbs were originally Everglades anyways. On the bright side, many of Miami's new skyscrapers are being built in the right areas, or near to them. Although it will have some flooding, Downtown will be ok. Elevations drop precipitously in Edgewater, so it might not. Brickell is a mixed bag. Wynwood, the Design District, much of Coral Gables, and the inland parts of Coconut Grove will all be fine. Broward is doomed.

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