Climate fix for rising seas could foul Miami’s Biscayne Bay

Posted by Mike Confino, May 21, 2015

king tide study

Last fall as Miami Beach triumphantly drained its streets, beating back seasonal King Tide flooding that has come to symbolize the perils of climate change, scientists got a different view of what the future may hold: one of the world’s most celebrated beaches surrounded by water too foul for swimming.

New pumps installed to keep the city dry flooded Biscayne Bay with a soup of phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants that can feed toxic algae blooms, according to a study overseen by Florida International University geologist Henry O. Briceno. In parts of the bay, the mass flushing caused nutrients to increase six-fold. If pumping were to become a regular practice, nutrients that are “like caviar for algae” could fuel nasty-smelling blooms that kill marine life and turn water a bright pea green, he said.

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