Seasonal Sea Level Rise

In a rebuttal to climate-denier Bret Stephens of the New York Times, the mayor of Miami Beach made this statement last week:

“I guarantee that if Mr. Stephens takes a trip down here to Miami Beach during king tides, we can baptize him as a climate change believer in no time!”

But why can’t Stephens come now? Surely the sea-level rise is visible year-round, no? Because if it’s seasonal, that’s a pretty huge scientific discovery.

Come to think of it, if you came here and asked me to take you to a spot where you could observe the sea-level rise, I would be at a loss. All of the waterfront areas that I see look exactly the same to me as they did 20 years ago. I could show you the pumps and elevated roads, but actual higher water? I can’t think of a single spot. Now, I haven’t been taking measurements, and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. But if you have to squint to see it, is it really a cataclysmic disaster?

And the king tides are caused by gravity. Sure, if the seas were higher, you might reasonably expect the king tides to be higher also. But the king tides have little-to-nothing to do with climate change. If you wanted to stop the king tides, the only thing that could possibly work would be to tow the moon out of orbit. And as crazy as that sounds, it might actually be cheaper than raising all the coastal cities of the world! Miami Beach alone is spending $400 million.

And finally, having the mayor hyperventilate about sea-level rise is bad for the city. If you tell the world that we are sinking beneath the waves, who would invest here, or buy property? The mayor should be telling the truth: that Miami Beach is a gorgeous, fantastic city.

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