Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Dr. Harold Wanless to speak at annual meeting of Friends of the Everglades, this Sunday 1:30 PM, Pinecrest Gardens

It's unusual for a group to invite the same speaker, on consecutive years, on its annual program, but Dr. Hal Wanless, chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami, is not just talking about climate change as a historic event: it's epochal. And not epochal in the sense of human history. Epochal in terms of geologic time.

This Sunday at 1:30 PM, at Pinecrest Garden (for location, click here), Dr. Wanless will update for the general public -- thanks to Friends of the Everglades -- the latest science on climate change and sea level rise.

As Eye on Miami has documented with photos, sea level rise is here. Check our archive feature.

Along this line, yesterday I happened across the beach "renourishment" project in Delray, by the US Army Corps of Engineers. I captured the "action" with my iPhone camera. What you are looking at represents hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, in the futile effort to keep the tides, down.

My two year old niece was playing by the water's edge. As I took in, what was happening, I noted (to myself and now to you) I won't be around when she is my age, late fifties. But in fifty years Florida will have abandoned trying to hold back the rising seas with efforts like this.

The sea will be rising too fast in too many places. And those fifty year olds may be wondering, if they are not already scrambling, why didn't our generations do more than shovel sand against the sea?

The tide line is not at the condos yet (in Ft. Lauderdale, parts of US 1 are already there), but the rate of acceleration puts the odds in favor of this scenario.

The first photo captures a dredge and a pipe conveying bottom sand into a pipe that, under very high pressure, moves the slurry toward the beach. The process involves redistributing massive amounts of wet sand lifted from the sea bottom and pumped through pipe to the shore.

The second photo shows the land side pipe transporting the slurry along the beach. Tractors reposition the pipe opening to create places front end loaders and graders to spread the sand. It all involves a huge amount of energy, corrosion and money.

The third photo shows the "renourished" sand stacked at least seven feet high to the edge of erosion by high tides.

The final step of this process I cannot photograph. It completes the circular process consuming our efforts. That is the one that involves waves washing away the sand back into the sea.

My brother told me that finding sea shells in the scavenged sand is much better than at the tide line. Not as much fun, but a sign of the times that defies description.


Anonymous said...

It would be great if his presentation could be televised. CSPAN might tape it and run it. Or maybe WLRN? At least someone with a camera should tape it. It is a historical piece that people would view in years to come, even after he is gone.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Wanless' presentation should be broadcast to the Miami Dade Commission and every city hall meeting throughout South Florida.

Anonymous said...

do you really believe beach erosion = global warming? beach erosion has occurred for as long as we have had beaches.