Concerned about sea level rise? Here's how to help
Ever see a photograph of a polar bear marooned on an ice floe in the ocean and wonder what you personally can do to stem sea level rise? That opportunity arrived via email on October 29.
“The City of Deerfield Beach Environmental Service Department requests your participation to complete a survey…,” the message said.
The city was passing on a request from Coral Springs resident Keren Bolter. On the cusp of a Ph.D. in geosciences, Bolter will use the data for a doctoral thesis comparing how people perceived the risk of sea level rise with the reality.
Her goal is to learn if people are concerned – and whether they should be. And the answer isn’t obvious, apparently.
“Why are people buying property at two feet above sea level when the sea level is projected to rise two feet by the year 2060?” she said. “Inland areas think they are safe, but they don’t realize the water comes up through the porous ground….”
Bolter knows of what she speaks. She has just completed a TED talk for Sea Level Rise Week, beginning November 11 on National Public Radio. Her survey information, she said, is vital to planners and emergency personnel who need to know where people are at greatest risk.
Yet of the city managers and mayors she contacted in 30 cities, only those in Deerfield Beach and Coconut Creek cooperated. Ironically, she said, at 30 feet and 12 feet above sea level respectively, those are the two Broward communities with the least to worry about.
“The elevations in Broward County go from north to south, from high to low. So Deerfield Beach, in terms of elevation is ten feet higher,” she explained. “South of Atlantic Boulevard, elevations dip and around Fort Lauderdale, Davie and Weston, most of the land is five to seven feet in elevation.”
Residents there might even think they safe from storm surge, flooding and property loss. They might also be dead wrong. To find out, Bolter needs 1,000 respondents. She’s gotten 300.
To answer questions about your own perception of sea level rise in Broward County, click on www.kbolter.com, and spend a few minutes answering questions about your own perception of sea level rise in Broward County. The survey will be available online until December 31, 2013. For information, call Keren Bolter at (954) 881-1409. Questions about being a research participant? Call (561) 297-0777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.