Sea level rise is overtaking Trump’s favorite vacation spot
Leanna Garfield, Business Insider UK July 14, 2017
President Trump likes to vacation at Mar-a-Lago, an estate and beach resort in South Florida that he purchased in 1985. Since being elected, he has frequently stayed in the private quarters of the property’s 126-room mansion, dubbed his “winter White House.”
But Mar-a-Lago is under threat from climate change. That’s according to a 2017 report by the National and Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which says that rising sea levels are increasingly damaging South Florida’s coasts.
The NOAA predicts that flooding caused by climate change will only worsen in coming years. The organization projects South Florida could see a 10- to 12-foot rise in sea level by 2100.
Since water surrounds most of Florida, sea level rise will affect the state (by total population) more than anywhere else in the US. Other at-risk states include New York, California, Virginia, and New Jersey, the researchers say.
Below is a satellite photo from Climate Central of what Miami could look like by 2100 if the worst climate change predictions come true. Though Miami is about 70 miles south of Mar-a-Lago, researchers say flood risks are similar since they are both coastal cities in South Florida.
miami beach florida flooding Google Earth/Climate Central
In 2016, the Guardian reported that water is already overflowing into the Mar-a-Lago property, as well as the bridges and roads needed to access it. And as Vox recently noted, another 2016 paper found that, since 2006, the average rate of sea-level rise had tripled from 3 millimeters annually to 9 millimeters in South Florida.
If sea levels rise just two feet, the estate’s western lawns would completely flood, according to the Associated Press. South Florida roads also already flood periodically during storms or high tides, and in recent years, cities like Miami and Titusville have installed expensive pumping systems to drain the water.
Later this year, Miami Beach will begin a $100 million flood prevention project, which includes raising roads, installing pumps and water mains, and re-building sewer connections. Many scientists say that a combination of polar melting, carbon emissions, and ice-sheet collapses could cause severe flooding that overwhelms the city by 2100.
“If the beaches are gone or the streets are flooded, it’s going to affect the value of his property,” Jim Cason, the Republican mayor of Coral Gables, Florida, told the AP. “So as a prudent businessman, he ought to conclude that the science is right and we need to prepare and plan.”
Scientists say that climate change will greatly contribute to future sea-level rise. As the planet warms, land ice melts, which contributes to the expansion of oceans.
In June, the Trump administration announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change by 2019. Established in 2015, the accord sets greenhouse-gas emission goals that signatory countries vow to meet.
After Trump’s Paris Agreement announcement, White House officials refused to answer if Trump believed in the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change.