Segments in this Video

Introduction: Miami (03:27)


Evidence of past hurricanes is found in the geological record; Paleoclimatologist Johanne Muller collects samples. She analyzes 1,000-year-old sediments, explaining correlation of storm activity to ocean temperatures.

King Tides and Permeable Foundations (05:42)

Florida residents cope with "sunny day floods" advancing from below ground. Rising sea levels create high tides that push up through underground infrastructure and water tables. Miami is situated on fossiliferous limestone and 20% of residences use sewage septic tanks; floods mix with waste, creating more hazardous conditions.

Urban Development (04:09)

Chief Resilience Officer James Murley surveys the Miami area; protective mangrove forests once grew on coastlines. Housing and developments occupy space now threatened by surges and sea level rise. Climate Scientist Keren Bolter discusses alerting the public to global warming and consequences.

Struggling Citizens (07:17)

Eric Bason lives in a low income neighborhood threatened by storms and floods; he discusses political activism and spreading awareness. Chief Resilience Officer Jane Gilbert addresses economic challenges of living in Miami and vulnerable populations. Scientists predict a six foot sea level rise for Miami Beach by 2100; Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant is located on the low lying coastline. The city is considered one of the most at risk worldwide, but construction persists.

Storm History (07:08)

Miami-Day County was mostly swampland in 1842; Carl J Fisher cut down mangrove forests and filled the area in with sand, creating the beach front. Hurricanes in 1926, 1992, and 2017 caused extensive damage.

Rapid Intensification (04:03)

Atlantic hurricanes start in Africa and when they reach warm waters and wind shears in the Gulf of Mexico, they become more powerful and can unexpectedly change direction. Researcher Brian Haus discusses why prediction is difficult but vital, and points out the interface between air and water; sea spray is a key component of the ever increasing phenomenon.

Public Policy (03:22)

Gilbert discusses constructing for adaptation; Kai Uwe-Bergmann describes storm and flood defenses at the Grove at Grand Bay. New building codes require raised foundations and various protective measures; additional recommendations are proposed by the Citizens Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee.

Climate Gentrification (03:27)

Wealthy coastal residents are moving in from the beach. Liberty City is a low income minority neighborhood; resident Valencia Gunder describes segregation and historic roles of the community. Many working class citizens struggle economically and will be pushed to more vulnerable areas.

Defense Plans (06:26)

Gilbert discusses new infrastructure and civil engineering for climate uncertainty. Miami Beach is fighting sea level rise on three fronts; pumping stations moving flood water to Biscayne Bay, raising city sea walls by five feet, and incremental elevation of low-lying streets.

Adaptation (05:34)

Sea level rise will continue and city raising is limited. Hill predicts design inadequacies, worsening climate problems, and suggests developing earthworks and floating urban districts. Experts express concerns over levies built on limestone foundations. The Perez Art Museum is designed for storm and flood resilience; no significant damages were sustained during Hurricane Irma.

Fight and Flight (03:19)

Astrid Caldas asserts that tidal flooding is more threatening than hurricanes. She lists options to protect, adapt or retreat. Civil engineers, residents, and scientists discuss challenges of saving Miami from climate change consequences.

Credits: Miami (00:30)

Credits: Miami

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Episode 4: Miami (Sinking Cities)

Part of the Series : Sinking Cities
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



No city on Earth faces a greater threat from rising seas and violent storms than Miami. But as development booms, residents of Miami wonder if engineers and planners can protect them from the water.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL169090

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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