Miami scheduled to be underwater within decades — anyway, how are those arena upgrades coming?

Here’s one reason we didn’t consider for why it might not be a great idea for Miami to give the Heat lots of money for renovations to AmericaAirlines Arena or the Dolphins money for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium: The arena and the stadium, and indeed Miami itself, may not be habitable for long enough for it to matter.

The unavoidable truth is that sea levels are rising and Miami is on its way to becoming an American Atlantis. It may be another century before the city is completely underwater (though some more-pessimistic­ scientists predict it could be much sooner), but life in the vibrant metropolis of 5.5 million people will begin to dissolve much quicker, most likely within a few decades. The rising waters will destroy Miami slowly, by seeping into wiring, roads, building foundations and drinking-water supplies – and quickly, by increasing the destructive power of hurricanes. “Miami, as we know it today, is doomed,” says Harold Wanless, the chairman of the department of geological sciences at the University of Miami. “It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”

The article by Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone is somewhat speculative, as it has to be given that not only don’t we know the exact amount of sea level rise that coming decades will bring, but we don’t know precisely when south Florida may be hit by the kind of massive hurricane and storm surge that would lead to the sort of chaos that Goodell predicts (raw sewage dumped into Biscayne Bay, salt water corroding wiring and leaving much of the city dark for months, drinking water wells ruined). But it’s a good reminder that while stadiums, and their debts, are expected to last 20 to 30 years, there’s no guarantee that we’ll still be living in the same world three decades from now. In fact, politicians in, for example, Sacramento and Glendale might want to be catching up on their climate-related reading as well — just in case it turns out to be useful.

3 comments on “Miami scheduled to be underwater within decades — anyway, how are those arena upgrades coming?

  1. What caused the natural heating and cooling periods before the industrial revolution? I hope you are enjoying having more money than Mitt Romney, Mr. Gore. Only in America.