Jack Black investigates the impacts of rising seas on Miami, Florida, with a group of scientists.

  • Join Jack Black as he meets with climate scientists at the University of Miami to analyze the possible effects of sea level rise on the dense urban environment of South Florida.

    Combined with strong hurricanes and storm surges, sea level rise is even more threatening. In fact, maps with sea level projections for 2030, 2060, and 2100 show an increasingly uninhabitable Miami. Coastal cities all over the world are destined to face similar problems if people continue pumping carbon into the atmosphere at present levels.

    Find more of this story in the “Gathering Storm” episode of the National Geographic Channel’s Years of Living Dangerously series.

  • Some South Florida cities, including Miami Beach, are already working to stem the rising tides by installing extensive pump systems and raising roads further above sea level. But less affluent areas do not have the financial resources to fight the inevitable over the next century. Even if they did, no sea wall or other barrier would be able to keep water from bubbling up through limestone, South Florida’s porous bedrock, as the sea level rises. 

    More than 25 million people in the United States live in areas at risk of coastal flooding, and these coastal areas are more than just places to live—they are key to our economy and way of life. Marine transportation of goods, offshore energy drilling, seafood cultivation, mineral extraction, tourism, and other coastal activities are integral to the nation's economy, generating more than half of the national gross domestic product (GDP). Coastal areas also include key military and naval bases. 

    Ocean levels are projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet over this century. The precise number depends on the amount of global temperature rise and polar ice sheet melt.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    carbon Noun

    chemical element with the symbol C, which forms the basis of all known life.

    climate change Noun

    gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

    Encyclopedic Entry: climate change
    coast Noun

    edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: coast
    economy Noun

    system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

    sea level Noun

    base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.

    Encyclopedic Entry: sea level
    sea level rise Noun

    increase in the average reach of the ocean. The current sea level rise is 1.8 millimeters (.07 inch) per year.

    storm surge Noun

    abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. Also called a storm tide.

    Encyclopedic Entry: storm surge
    urban Adjective

    having to do with city life.