duck key

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys
























Global Warming and Sea Levels

Waterfront Today, Water Tomorrow.

Seth Borenstein for the Associated Press wrote on September 22, 2007,

"Global warming - through a combination of melting glaciers, disappearing ice sheets and warmer waters expanding - is expected to cause oceans to rise by one meter, or about 39 inches. It will happen regardless of any future actions to curb greenhouse gases, several leading scientists say. And it will reshape the nation."

Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization, established in response to the global-warming crisis writes,

Beginning with just one meter of sea level rise, our nation would be physically under siege, with calamitous and destabilizing consequences.

The US is a coastal nation with over 12,000 miles of coastline. With 53% of all Americans living in and around coastal cities and towns, it is important to understand the impact of climate-induced sea level rise on our nation. Previous studies have focused on a six-meter rise. The following study takes a more conservative approach, beginning with a sea level rise of just one meter.

To read the Associated Press article and to visualize the impact of the rise in sea level on coastal maps follow the links provided

NEWS article

climate change and sea level animation FLORIDA


climate change and sea level NORTHEAST

Florida Keys

Miami and other

Sea Level about 120,000 years ago

During the last interglacial period, the earth was 2 °C to 3 °C warmer, and sea level was four to six meters higher than today.





Carbon Dioxide Levels

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects the Earth's temperature.

Architecture writes that scientist forecast approximately 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will cause potentially "irreversible glacial melt and sea level rise 'out of humanity’s control'.

"Currently concentrations of carbon dioxide are at 383 ppm, and the planet is now approximately 0.8 °C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Concentrations of 450 ppm corresponds to approximately 2 °C global warming above pre-industrial levels . Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing at 2 ppm each year. At this growth rate, we will reach 450 ppm in 2035.

Continued growth of carbon dioxide-producing infrastructure and emissions for another 10 years will make it impractical, and most likely impossible, to avert exceeding this threshold".


Florida Keys 100,000 years ago

The temperature of the earth started to cool and the earth's polar ice caps began to increase in size. thereby removing water from the oceans. The ocean level drops and Florida's coastline extends outward a great distance. The ocean level drops so far in fact it is thought that early Paleo-Indians might have been able to travel on foot to the Tortugas.


Images 1, 2, and 3 taken from pamphlet by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Florida Keys

Florida Keys 30,000 years ago

The earth's polar caps start to melt and the oceans starts to rise. GRADUALLY as the sea level rises, the shoreline recedes. This occurs slowly, because just 6000 to 8000 years ago it has been suggested that it was still possible for early Paleo-Indians to walk or wade to the present Florida Keys reef. With the passage of additional time Hawk Channel and Florida Bay go from dry land areas to areas covered by sea water.    


Florida Keys Presently


There is agreement among most scientists that the ocean level is rising, but the rate of rise is in dispute. Some authorities think that the level has been increasing on average about 3.5 inches every 100 years since 6000 BC. Others authorities believe that the rise has been less.

Jerry Wilkinson, Florida Keys historian, has written about the rise in sea level

"in 1989 it was reported to be 15 inches per 100 years at Key West. Will the future ocean begin to fall again, or will the pendulum keep swinging and raise the water another 20 feet to inundate south Florida up to about Sebring in central Florida?

At this rate and without other changes, in about 1,300 years the water will have risen about 16 feet (5 meters). Only one small point in Key West, Lignumvitae Key, Windley Key and a ridge on Key Largo and Plantation Key will remain dry at high tides. An argument against this extreme is that there have been smaller undulations of sea level since the large one about 30,000 years ago. These are estimated at 8,000 to 6,700; 4,300 to 3,400; 2,800 to 2,000 and 1,600 to 1,200 years before present. The argument for an extreme increase is the effect of man and the ozone layer called global warming.


See Jerry Wilkinson -

Wilkinson in turn uses Sources: Land from the Sea by John Edward Hoffmeister, 1974; Geology of the Florida Keys by Eugene A. Shinn, Oceanus, 1988 and Paleoshorelines, Reefs, and a Rising Sea: South Florida, U.S.A. by Barbara H. Lidz and Eugene A. Shinn, 1990.




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