Longtime resident believes sea level rise is an overblown concern

Call me a Philistine, or a Luddite, but I do not believe that sea level rising presents an immediate threat to our beloved island. Maybe not even a decade or two from now. Let me explain.

First, some anecdotal evidence. My family and I have been coming to Key Biscayne since the 1970s. Used to take our children to the Crandon Zoo and ride the miniature train. In the late 1970s and early 1980s we rented in Key Colony and spent part of our summer vacations in Key Biscayne. (In 1999, we finally bought a place in Key Colony and we are now residents.)

Back in the early 1980s I remember the sea water reaching the Key Colony property line, which was delineated by a small retaining wall. The retaining wall was at the end of a lawn separating the townhouses from the beach. The retaining wall no longer exists but the lawn is still there. The big difference is that now the water’s edge is a good 100 yards away from the lawn, providing Key Colony residents with a sizable beach area.

Back in the early 1980s you would jump from the lawn into the water. Nowadays you have to walk 100 yards before entering the water.

Maybe we can check this out. We should be able to get our hands on aerial photographs of Key Biscayne taken in the late 1970s or 1980s. Then, we could use The Tidemark and Oceansound buildings in Key Colony and the Island House building as fixed locations and determine the relative location of the ocean shore to these buildings at the time the pictures were taken and compare it to where the water edge is in 2020. Neither the Key Colony buildings nor the Island House have moved from their existing locations in the last 40 years. This comparison could give us some credible evidence of how much the sea has advanced or receded during this time period.

Second, some simple science. Given that the surface of the Earth is 510 million square kilometers, that the oceans comprise 70% of the Earth surface, and that the oceans are connected, it will take an additional 29 quadrillion gallons of water to raise the sea level by one foot in all the oceans of our Earth. That is a lot of water and does not include the surface water lost to evaporation. NOTE: a quadrillion is 15 zeros after the number.

Where is all that additional water coming from. It can only come from Antarctica, which has approximately 90% of the freshwater on our planet. So, if this additional water is coming from Antarctica due to climate change, it makes sense to me to monitor closely the coastlines of Chile and Argentina for any possible changes since both countries are much closer to Antarctica than any country in the Northern Hemisphere. Let the appropriate organizations build monitoring stations in Ushuaia, Argentina and/or Punta Arenas, Chile and be ahead of the curve.

Points of clarification.

No opinion given on climate change. This is about sea level rising.

I am by no means a climate scientist or anything close to it. I do have a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Julio J Diaz

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