Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach may be underwater in 20-30 years.

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are underwater in a couple of decades, according to the chairman of the University of Miami’s geological-sciences department

It is time to consider a re-settlement of the millions that live there. 

During high tides that have been worsened by sea-level rise, Miami has seen flooding in its Upper Eastside and Brickell neighborhoods. Hal Wanless, the chairman of the University of Miami’s geological-sciences department, has spent nearly half a century studying South Florida. From this, he’s concluded that the region may have less than half a century more to go. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels could rise by more than three feet by the end of this century. The United States Army Corps of Engineers projects that they could rise by as much as five feet, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts up to six and a half feet. According to Wanless, all these projections are all too low.

“We’re looking at the possibility of a ten-to-thirty-foot range by the end of the century,” he told me.

Florida Mayors Tell GOP Climate-Deniers They’ve Had Enough.

Fifteen mayors from cities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties wrote a letter asking them to meet with local leaders to “discuss the risks facing Florida communities due to climate change and help us chart a path forward to protect our state and the entire United States.”

“As mayors representing municipalities across Florida, we call on you to acknowledge the reality and urgency of climate change and to address the upcoming crisis it presents our communities,” both letters begin. “Our cities and towns are already coping with the impacts of climate change today. We will need leadership and concrete solutions from our next president.”

Got a plan?

NASA and the NOAA agree: 2015 was a record-breaking Hottest year on record.

The experts all agree: 2015 was a record-breaker. 

Last year was the earth's hottest in 136 years of record-keeping, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Wednesday. The agencies agreed that 2015 was a record-breaker. NOAA found 2015 was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average. Since the beginning of modern record keeping, Earth's temperature has risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, according to NASA, which attributed the change to "increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere."
The average global temperature of 58.24 degrees F. That was already 1.24 degrees above the 20th century average.
The average global temperature of 58.24 degrees F. That was already 1.24 degrees above the 20th century average.

"Globally averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius)," NASA reported. "Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much." 2014, the previous hottest year, had an average global temperature of 58.24 degrees Fahrenheit. That was already 1.24 degrees above the 20th century average.

The heat in 2015 can be attributed to both global warming caused by humans and the winter's powerful El Niño event, the World Meteorological Organization said in November. It noted record-high levels of greenhouse gases in the Northern hemisphere last year. 
Fourteen of the last 16 years have been the hottest ever recorded.
Fourteen of the last 16 years have been the hottest ever recorded.

Wednesday's announcement is backed up by the Berkeley Earth study released last week, which called 2015 "unambiguously the hottest year on record." "This new high temperature record confirms our previous interpretation that the pause was temporary and that global warming has not slowed," Richard Muller, scientific director of Berkeley Earth, said. (The "pause" was the dozen-plus years before 2014 when global temperatures basically held steady.) The decades-long rise due to greenhouse gas emission is now clearly continuing," added Robert Rohde, the lead scientist on the Berkeley Earth study. 

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) used the news to urge movement away from fossil fuels. "The debate is over," Sen. Bernie Sanders said. "Fourteen of the last 16 years have been the hottest ever recorded. Climate change is real and is caused by human activity. This planet and its people are in trouble. Unless we get our act together, we will see in years to come more droughts, more floods and more extreme weather disturbances."

While 2015 was a record-breaking year for the planet, it was only the second-hottest year on record for the U.S., which NOAA reported earlier this month saw an average 54.4 degrees F last year. That was 2.4 degrees above the country's 20th century average, but 0.9 degrees under the record 55.3 degree average for 2012.  NASA found that 2015 was 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the late 19th century.
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “Today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice - now is the time to act on climate.”
2015 was the hottest year on record.
2015 was the hottest year on record.

Experts have been estimating for months that last year would prove to be the world's hottest in over a century. After a NASA report found that this past October was the first month to surpass the 20th century's average temperature by more than 1 degree Celsius, Gavin Schmidt, director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, tweeted there was now a 99.9 percent chance that 2015 would be crowned the hottest year on record.

The severe heat was palpable around the planet.

 Europe's Heat Wave.
Heat Records Shattered in Germany, France, The Netherlands in June/July 2015 History's deadliest heat wave -- centered in France in 2003 -- killed 70,000 people across Europe. A dangerous heat wave scorching Europe shattered records and forced people to seek refuge. The heat broke records across Europe in June and July 2015, when triple-digit temperatures settled on Spain, Portugal, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland.

The heat wave in Euorpe in June and July 2015 smashed all-time records.
Madrid (central Madrid) set a new July record high on July 6, topping out at 39.9 degrees Celsius -- 103.8 degrees Fahrenheit, exceeding the previous July record from July 24, 1995 (39.5C). They also set a June record high June 29, reaching 39.7 degrees Celsius -- 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Germany's all-time heat record was toppled July 5 in Kitzingen, topping out at 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit). This eclipsed the previous German all-time high of 40.2C (104.4F) from August 2003 and July 1983. German cities set their all-time heat records on the July 4-5 weekend, including Berlin (Dahlem) reaching 37.9C (100.2F) Saturday and Frankfurt soaring to 39C (102.2F) Sunday.

Triple-digit temperatures baked Spain and Portugal before moving on to France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and other areas of Europe. The temperature hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Paris in July. And then it kept rising.The official high was 103.5 degrees, just short of the hottest day ever recorded in the French capital. Electricity fluctuations caused by the excessive temperatures briefly blacked out power for 830,000 households on Tuesday night. Near France’s Atlantic coast in the southwestern part of the country, the temperatures rose as high as 108 degrees. Such a high temperature—more typical of California’s Death Valley at this time of year.

Madrid set a new record for its June heat on Monday when temperatures reached 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and southern Spain's Cordoba experienced 110.7 degrees on Sunday. A heat of 98.1 degrees at London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday set a new record for July heat in all of the U.K., while the 103.5 degrees recorded in Paris that same day was the hottest reading in the city since 1873.

Three French locations chalked up all-time record highs, topping their highest 
temperatures from either the 2003 or 2006 heat waves:
- Boulogne-sur-Mer (35.4 Celsius / 95.7 Fahrenheit) beat their previous record from 
Aug. 11, 2003 (34.8C). 
- Dieppe (38.3C / 100.9F) beat their previous record from July 19, 2006 (37C).
- Melun (39.4C / 102.9F) beat their previous record from Aug. 12, 2003 (38.9C).

It wasn't just the high temperatures, lows generally did not drop below 68 degrees (20C) on Saturday morning and for many cities in France they had never recorded such hot nights in July. Lons-le-Saunier in eastern France saw a low of 80 degrees (28C).
Maastricht, in the far southeast of The Netherlands, rose to 38.2 degrees Celsius (100.8F), 
a new national July heat record, topping Westdorpe's 37.1C reading in 2006.

Heat records were broken in Spain.
 Madrid's Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport pushed up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 F), a first for June in records dating to 1945. Four other locations in Spain with records dating to at least the 1950s tied or set new June heat records. Cordoba, Spain, reached a sizzling 43.7 degrees Celsius (110.7F) and topped that July 6 with a high of 45 degrees Celsius (113F).

Research suggests such extreme heat waves, including the one in India that killed more than 1,400 people last month, are largely the result of human-caused climate change. A study published last year in the journal Nature Climate Change found that Europe is now 10 times more likely to see another heat wave as intense as that of 2003 than it was one decade ago.

Temperatures as hot as 36 degrees Celsius (about 97F) were reported in western Poland while Plzen-Mikulka, in the western Czech Republic topped out at 37.8 degrees C Sunday.Even parts of southern Sweden pushed the 32 degrees Celsius (89.6F).The temperature at London's Heathrow Airport skyrocketed to 36.7 degrees Celsius -- 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit -- a July heat record not only there but for anywhere in the U.K., according to the U.K. Met Office. The previous U.K. July heat record was set almost nine years ago -- 36.5 degrees C in Wisley on July 19, 2006. It was also the hottest day in Wimbledon history, topping the previous record of 34.6 degrees C on June 26, 1976.

India and Pakistan: Record heat and floods kills thousands, displace millions.
India's sweltering temperatures have caused 2,500 deaths so far. The temperatures were so hot they melted roads, reaching 45°C (113°F) in New Delhi.
120-degree days in India melted New Delhi's asphalt and killed around 2,500 people
120-degree days in India melted New Delhi's asphalt and killed around 2,500 people.
 In May, 120-degree days in India melted New Delhi's asphalt and killed around 2,500 people, making it the fifth-deadliest heat wave on record. The next month, temperatures as high as 113 degrees killed at least 1,200 people in Pakistan and sent more than 65,000 heatstroke patients to hospitals.

A boy whose house was destroyed by the cyclone watches an approaching storm
A boy whose house was destroyed by the cyclone watches an approaching storm.
A boy whose house was destroyed by the cyclone watches an approaching storm, some 50 kilometres southwest of the township of Kunyangon. Further storms would complicate relief efforts and leave children increasingly vulnerable to disease. In May 2008 in Myanmar, an estimated 1.5 million people are struggling to survive under increasingly desperate conditions in the wake of Cyclone Nargis, which hit the southwestern coast on 3 May, killed some 100,000 people, and displaced 1 million across five states. Up to 5,000 square kilometres of the densely populated Irrawaddy Delta, which bore the brunt of the storm, remain underwater. 

In Pakistan, over 5.4 million people had been affected by monsoon rains and flooding
In Pakistan, over 5.4 million people had been affected by monsoon rains and flooding, this number was expected to rise. In Sindh Province, 824,000 people have been displaced and at least 248 killed. Many government schools have been turned into temporary shelters, and countless water sources have been contaminated. More than 1.8 million people are living in makeshift camps without proper sanitation or access to safe drinking water. Over 70 per cent of standing crops and nearly 14,000 livestock have been destroyed in affected areas, where 80 per cent of the population relies on agriculture for food and income. Affected communities are also threatened by measles, hepatitis and other communicable diseases. The crisis comes one year after the country's 2010 monsoon-related flooding disaster, which covered up to one fifth of the country in flood water and affected more than 18 million people, half of them children. Many families are still recovering from the earlier emergency, which aggravated levels of chronic malnutrition and adversely affected sanitation access and other child protection issues. UNICEF is working with Government authorities and United Nations agencies and partners to provide relief. Thus far, UNICEF-supported programmes have immunized over 153,000 children and 14,000 women; provided nutritional screenings and treatments benefiting over 2,000 children; provided daily safe drinking water to 106,700 people; and constructed 400 latrines benefiting 35,000 people. Still, additional nutrition support and safe water and sanitation services are urgently needed. A joint United Nations Rapid Response Plan seeks US$356.7 million to address the needs of affected populations over the next six months.

Africa: Drought affects food crops as millions go hungry.
Africa: Drought affects food crops as millions go hungry.
Africa: Drought affects food crops as millions go hungry.
A girl carries her baby sibling through a haze of dust in Sidi Village, in Kanem Region. She is taking him to be screened for malnutrition at a mobile outpatient centre for children, operated by one nurse and four nutrition workers. The programme is new to the area. Several months ago, most children suffering from severe malnutrition had to be transported to health centres in the town of Mundo, 12 kilometres away, or in the city of Mao, some 35 kilometres away. In April 2010 in Chad, droughts have devastated local agriculture, causing chronic food shortages and leaving 2 million people in urgent need of food aid. Due to poor rainfall and low agricultural yields, malnutrition rates have hovered above emergency thresholds for a decade. But the 2009 harvest was especially poor, with the production of staple crops declining by 20 percent to 30 percent. Food stocks have since dwindled, and around 30 percent of cattle in the region have died from lack of vegetation. 

Philippines: Massive flooding affects millions.
A boy carries supplies through waist-high floodwater in Pasig City in Manila, the capital. On Sept. 30, 2009, in the Philippines, over half a million people are displaced by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana, which struck on Sept. 26. The storm dumped over a month's worth of rain on the island of Luzon in only 12 hours. The flooding has affected some 1.8 million people, and the death toll has climbed to 246.

Alex is the first Atlantic hurricane to form in January since 1938.

For the first time on record in January, the National Hurricane Center issued advisories for active tropical cyclones. Alex became the first named tropical weather system to form in the Atlantic during January since 1978. It was classified as a subtropical storm, one that exhibits a combination of tropical and non-tropical characteristics. Alex became the first named Atlantic storm almost six months ahead of average, which is on July 9. In 2015, the first named storm, Ana, — which was also classified as subtropical — formed on May 7. Historically, only 0.5 percent of tropical storm activity has occurred prior to June 1.

“Alex is only the fourth known named storm to form in this month in the historical record that begins in 1851,” the National Hurricane Center wrote Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center seemed stunned by Alex’s strength in its 10 a.m. discussion, writing: “Remarkably, Alex has undergone the transformation into a hurricane. A distinct eye is present, embedded within a fairly symmetric mass of deep convection.” 

Alex has steadily strengthened over the past day and is making history as an extraordinarily rare January hurricane. The National Hurricane Center says Alex is the first Atlantic hurricane to form in January since 1938.  The storm has peak winds of 85 mph, just about 5 mph shy of the 1938 January hurricane, the strongest on record for the month.

Positioned 490 miles south of the Azores, Alex is making a beeline toward the group of islands that sit about 900 miles west of Portugal. The Azores government has issued hurricane warnings for the most of the islands. Only 10 hurricanes on record have tracked within 200 miles of the Azores, all in August or September. “Alex is in a rare spot for September, much less January,” tweeted Eric Blake, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center. “It is only the 2nd hurricane on record to form north of 30N (latitude) east of 30W (longitude).”

Alex has strengthened over waters that are usually not warm enough to support hurricane activity. However, the contrast between the surface waters and unusually cold air at high altitudes has created a volatile corridor of air, fostering the storm’s development. “The resulting instability is likely the main factor contributing to the tropical transition and intensification of Alex,” the National Hurricane Center wrote in its 10 a.m. discussion.

While the waters in which Alex has developed are, by themselves, not characteristically warm enough for hurricane formation, they are warmer than normal, helping the storm acquire tropical characteristics, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters. “Between January 8 and 12, pre-Alex tracked generally eastwards over ocean waters that were 22 – 25°C (72 – 77°F); these temperatures were near-record warm for this time of year (about 2 – 4°F above average),” Masters wrote. “These temperatures were just high enough so that Alex was able to gradually gain a warm core.”

Masters added that global warming must be considered as a player in the evolution of Alex. “It is unlikely that Alex would have formed if these waters had been close to normal temperatures for this time of year,” he wrote. “The unusually warm waters for Alex were due, in part, to the high levels of global warming that brought Earth its warmest year on record in 2015. Global warming made Alex’s formation much more likely to occur…”

While Alex spun up in the Atlantic, another highly unusual tropical weather system for the time of year was setting milestones in the Pacific. A storm named Pali reached hurricane intensity in the central Pacific Ocean earlier this week, becoming the earliest hurricane to form in that region on record. Located just 4 degrees in latitude north of the equator, Pali also became the third strongest storm to occur so far south on record in the northwest Pacific basin and the strongest storm to occur so close to the equator in the western hemisphere. Pali’s strength and early formation were also supported by much-warmer-than-normal ocean waters in the Pacific, resulting from both this year’s strong El Nino event and ongoing climate warming.

Looking back on a year of unusual weather

Strange Weather Indeed!

Extreme tornadoes in the United States over Christmas, abnormal snowfalls in Mexico, and heavy flooding in South America and the United Kingdom. Perhaps the strangest weather took place in the Northeast, where along the Eastern Seaboard summer-like temperatures made for a green Christmas. It was the warmest Christmas Eve in the history of New York City, where residents and tourists alike strolled the streets in shorts and T-shirts as temperatures hit 72 degrees. It reached 71 degrees in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., while normally icy Boston saw the mercury hit 68 degrees. As unseasonably warm temperatures blanketed the Northeast, Southern Californians prepared for snow and ice, and deadly tornadoes swept through the South, claiming at least 20 lives, making for an atypical Christmas Eve in many parts of the United States. Twisters that dotted the landscape from Michigan to Arkansas, along with torrential rains and strong winds. Roads were flooded in Georgia, while other states like Alabama experienced mudslides. Mississippi was hit particularly hard by tornadoes. The death toll in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and other Southern states had reached 20. Many others were injured, and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. Tornado weather is typical in the spring, but can happen anytime cold air meets hot air.

The above-average temperatures seen early this winter were attributed to El Niño, a heating of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean associated with warmer and drier weather. The El Niño currently wreaking havoc around the world is forecast to only worsen in 2016 — and NASA experts fear it could get as bad as the most destructive El Niño ever. A new satellite image of the weather system "bears a striking resemblance to one from December 1997" — the worst El Niño on record — which was blamed for extreme weather, including record rainfall in California and Peru, heat waves across Australia, and fires in Indonesia. The severe conditions resulted in an estimated 23,000 deaths in 1997 and 1998.

This year's El Niño has already caused wild conditions for much of the United States.: It contributed to the reasons why many Americans experienced a balmy Christmas Eve, with temperature peaking in the 70s in places along the East Coast, and is responsible for deadly storms and near-record flooding in the South and Midwest. It also has been tied to the worst floods in five decades in South America.

But a Dec. 27 satellite image from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which measures sea surface heights, implies the worst of the droughts and flooding are still to come — a forecast that is troubling to humanitarian relief agencies. In Ethiopia, for example, the government estimates 10.2 million people will need humanitarian assistance next year due to a drought exacerbated by El Niño, Oxfam said. In Malawi, 2.8 million people are estimated to experience food shortages before March.

In the U.S., the biggest El Niño impacts are expected in early 2016, NASA said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts "several months of relatively cool and wet conditions across the southern United States, and relatively warm and dry conditions over the northern United States," NASA said.  tornadoes and storms killed more than 20 people in the US states of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois, and flattened hundreds of buildings and houses.

Meanwhile, the intense floods in South America are considered the worst in the past 10 years, forcing more than 170,000 people to evacuate in Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. “The abnormal flooding is consistent with the prediction made by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) last November. We cannot ignore science.” Last month, WMO warned that the majority of international climate outlook models indicated that the 2015-16 El Niño weather phenomenon was set to strengthen before the end of the year, causing more flooding and more droughts, setting it among the three strongest since 1950.

The phenomenon, characterized by a warming of the Pacific Ocean, is also triggering a rise in drought in different parts of the Americas, sparking the worst droughts in decades in Central America and Haiti, and that they will continue into 2016.

In Mexico, snowfall over the weekend blanketed 32 towns in the state of Chihuahua, with some places hit by accumulations of 30 centimetres and temperatures of -18 degrees Celsius. December has seen communities in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire in the UK swamped by rising waters with damages that could exceed £1.5 billion. “The repetitive floods in the UK and unusual snowstorms in Mexico are alerting the world about how difficult it is to predict global warming impacts and climate change,” Ms. Wahlström said.

Matt Sitkowski, a coordinating weather producer at The Weather Channel, told NBC News that El Niño could result in a "wetter and stormier California" for the next two to three months — which could be a boon for the drought-stricken state. "The fear is some of these storms come and you get too much at once, which could lead to flooding concerns," he added. "It doesn't take much in parts of California."

"The El Niño weather system could leave tens of millions of people facing hunger, water shortages and disease next year if early action isn't taken to prepare vulnerable people from its effects," aid agency Oxfam International warned in a press release.

Meanwhile, holiday travelers in Southern California prepared for a cold system Thursday that was expected to bring rain, cold and snow in mountainous areas. Portions of Interstate 5, the main highway on the West Coast, were to become blanketed with snow and ice. Forecasters also were expecting wind gusts of up to 45 mph.