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Fri Jan 31, 2020, 07:48 PM

Not to Ruin the Super Bowl, but the Sea Is Consuming Miami

(Wired) Ah, the Super Bowl, a bonanza of overeating and watching men brutalize each other (brain health be damned), punctuated by 30-second reminders to spend money. This weekend the spectacle will play out at Hard Rock Stadium, a lovely open-air structure mere miles from Miami Beach, which is disappearing into the sea.

But Iím being negative. Hereís the good news: This time of year is (literally) the cosmically ideal moment for men to brutalize each other in a stadium in Miami. Right now, Miami is smack dab in between the seasonal events that ravage its shores: king tides. Peaking around October, the gravitational interaction between the sun, the moon, and our planet pulls on the oceans, resulting in extra-high tides that rush through Miami, flooding buildings and closing streets. But those tides only run through November, returning to a lesser degree in March. Thus the Super Bowl is perfectly timed, because it means that all those football fans donít need to worry about king tides flooding their hotels.

King tides are normalóour celestial bodies have been doing their gravitational dance for a long whileóbut whatís not normal is human-induced climate change. And that takes us back to the bad news: In the longer term, this change is assaulting Miami from all sides, with increased rainfall from above and rising seas pushing in from the east, raising the water table below. It is a city in the early stages of an existential crisis, and whether it can host Super Bowls in the future is the least of its worries.

Melting glaciers thousands of miles away have led to a sea level rise of 5 inches in the last 25 years in South Florida, with many more inches to come. At the same time, the warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, resulting in more rainfall. Just add a hurricane to the mix (the hurricane season starts in early summer and lasts through the autumn) and youíve got not just a perfect storm, but a potentially catastrophic one. ...... (more)


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