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South Florida scientists say we must act now on sea level rise

Posted at 3:38 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 18:01:30-05

Along the shores of Delray Beach, Jon McCormack is always capturing something with his camera.

But what he captures is not always positive.

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"Tremendous issue with plastics," McCormack said.

He’s noticed a trend when it comes to sea level rise as well.

"First level condominiums, they have to get more flood insurance," said McCormack. "Not sure what they can do about it."

A new federal report is issuing a dire warning about the consequences of climate change, and South Florida may face some of the greatest impacts.

Florida is on the front line and scientists say Palm Beach County cannot hide.

"Not only an ongoing thing, it’s an increasing thing," said Dr. Len Berry with Coastal Risk Consulting.

WPTV met with Dr. Berry along the Intracoastal in downtown Delray Beach where many homes are already threatened during King Tides every year.

"Intracoastal is more susceptible to flooding than coastline," said Dr. Berry.

He believes 2060 is the year to watch, when sea levels could rise by two feet at that time.

One risk assessment study says more than 3,500 homes in Palm Beach County are at risk of sea level rise by 2060.

In Boca Raton, more than 350 homes are at risk and in Delray Beach, more than 360 homes are at risk, according to the study.

Thousands more are at risk by the end of the century when sea levels could rise three feet, the study claims.

"Hundreds, tens of thousands of homes will be abandoned," said Dr. Berry. "We can’t prevent it, we can only slow it down."

Dr. Berry says we can reduce carbon emissions and we can prepare.

"One thing you can do is build a sea wall," said Berry. "We have to either protect or adapt by moving."