Resilience is the ability to cope with adverse shocks and stresses, and to adapt and learn to live with changes and uncertainty. Climate change and sea level rise are long term stresses that will amplify other issues in our county from intensifying storm events and hurricanes to impacting human health and social vulnerability.
With its ongoing Sea Level Rise Strategy project, Miami-Dade County is identifying and developing financially-feasible mitigation and adaptation strategies to prepare for sea level rise and coastal storms. This includes analyzing multiple "adaptation pathways" and quantifying the economic cost of inaction.
Sea Level Rise projections
For planning purposes, the county relies upon the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact's Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida. Regionally, sea levels are expected to be 14 to 26 inches higher than 1992 levels by 2060.
Miami-Dade County's 3-D sea level rise viewer, which includes a 3-D layer of buildings in the county, allows planners and residents to view the impact of sea level rise, from one foot to six feet.
Impacts of Sea Level Rise
Miami-Dade County is located in a unique geographical area as it is surrounded by major bodies of water such as the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay and many rivers, lakes and canals. Rising sea levels lead to other issues including:
Coastal erosion. Sea level rise is increasing coastal erosion rates.
Storm surge. Sea level rise can increase the height of storm surge.
King tide flooding. Sea level rise is causing King Tides to happen more frequently, last longer and extend farther inland.
Urban flooding. Urban flooding can be caused by short-duration, very heavy rain events. Urbanization creates large areas of impervious surfaces (such as roads, pavement, parking lots and buildings) that heavy downpours can exceed the capacity of storm drains and cause floods.
Saltwater intrusion. Rising sea levels cause saltwater to "intrude" further landward into the freshwater Biscayne Aquifer, increasing the vulnerability of the region’s drinking water to saltwater intrusion. Additionally, rising sea levels push salt water further into the Everglades, potentially causing loss of wetland plants and habitat.
Infrastructure impacts. Due to higher water levels in Biscayne Bay, it takes longer to drain roadways when it rains, and some low-lying roads are directly inundated by high tides. Additionally, rising sea levels increase the flood risk for buildings near the coast.
- Septic Systems Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise - Nov. 2018 report
Socioeconomic impacts. Flooding can damage property, interrupt business and increase insurance costs.
Preparation is keyPreparing for sea level rise and flooding
- Sea levels have been rising globally and similar changes have been seen in Miami-Dade County.
- Visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Flood Exposure Map to determine if your neighborhood is prone to flooding, vulnerable to storm surge or likely to be affected by sea level rise
- Learn how to protect your home against flooding risks with insurance or protective measures.
- South Florida is a unique geographical area and particularly susceptible to flooding.
- The US Climate Resilience Toolkit from NOAA helps you understand and address your climate risks.
Preparing for storm surge and hurricanes