Dan Kipnis has a beautiful house in Miami Beach, Florida. He just sold it.
Mr. Kipnis is moving because he fears sea level rise. He has seen it rise 4 inches in the last 23 years and he says he thinks it may rise 2-3 feet more by 2040. Miami Beach floods frequently these days, even when the sun is shining brightly.
Of course, there’s a big difference between the 4 inches Mr. Kipnis has witnessed and the 6.2 cm of global sea level rise that we’ve experienced this century. One of the differences is subsidence–Miami Beach is sinking as fast or faster than the sea levels are rising. (Another is the somewhat counter-intuitive fact that sea level rise is very uneven.)
Considering that the IPCC has a worst case projection of 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100, I wonder if Mr. Kipnis is abandoning ship prematurely. If sea level rise occurs as predicted by the IPCC, he may not have needed to sell his house. The city is already raising the roads and putting in new storm drains to deal with frequent flooding–he might have waited to see the effects.
How many more like Mr. Kipnis are making decisions that will have a huge effect on their lives based on the scary stories put out by Rolling Stone, for example, which published an article called ‘Why the City of Miami is Doomed‘ in June of 2013. The story starts in 2030 with an account of the aftermath of a fictional hurricane:
“When the water receded after Hurricane Milo of 2030, there was a foot of sand covering the famous bow-tie floor in the lobby of the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. A dead manatee floated in the pool where Elvis had once swum. Most of the damage occurred not from the hurricane’s 175-mph winds, but from the 24-foot storm surge that overwhelmed the low-lying city. In South Beach, the old art-deco buildings were swept off their foundations. Mansions on Star Island were flooded up to their cut-glass doorknobs. A 17-mile stretch of Highway A1A that ran along the famous beaches up to Fort Lauderdale disappeared into the Atlantic. The storm knocked out the wastewater-treatment plant on Virginia Key, forcing the city to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay. Tampons and condoms littered the beaches, and the stench of human excrement stoked fears of cholera. More than 800 people died, many of them swept away by the surging waters that submerged much of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale; 13 people were killed in traffic accidents as they scrambled to escape the city after the news spread – falsely, it turned out – that one of the nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, an aging power plant 24 miles south of Miami, had been destroyed by the surge and sent a radioactive cloud over the city.”
The story parrots alarmist predictions of ‘six feet of sea level rise this century’ and quotes James Hansen’s unfortunate SWAG of 16 feet this century. It ignores mainstream science.
The word ‘subsidence’ does not occur in the story.
I hope Mr. Kipnis does not come to regret his decision–he obviously loves the house he is leaving. I hope that he did not depend overmuch on the scare stories that are so clearly anti-science.
On the other hand, somebody bought his house. Perhaps someone who didn’t read Rolling Stone, who read the IPCC reports instead. I wish him or her every happiness in their new home.