Thursday, May 9, 2013

Looking ahead...

Located at the very south-easternmost point in the continental United States, Florida is a subtropical peninsula with the Everglades wetlands in the south which make up 734 square miles of the state of Florida. Despite the heat and humidity in the south and the Everglades, the north part of the state can sometimes experience cold spells that cause freezes and damage orange groves and crops. 

Original article here:

Since Florida is a subtropical climate, it experiences a lot of humidity and precipitation and rarely fluctuating temperatures nearly year-round. But because climate is greatly affected by oceans, and Florida is a peninsula, it often falls prey to strong storm surges during hurricane season (June 1st-November 30th).  

-Florida 1000 Years From Now-

It is believed that Florida used to be much larger, but due to rising sea levels over thousands of years, it has become the much thinner version we know today. Because of this, there is reason to believe that the sea levels will continue to rise.

"The annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, roughly twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years" (

  If I have done the math correctly, based on that data:

Note: 1 meter = 39.37 inches
39.37 x 5 (meters)=196.85

I believe that this 5 meter rise in sea level would take about 1000-1500 years. Obviously, this is a rough estimate based on current data that is subject to change and skew this data once again, but it's important to keep in mind that Florida looked different a long time ago and it won't always look the way it does now.

-Florida 10,000 Years From Now-

Keeping the theory about 1000 years in mind, the sea levels will continue to rise even more than the 5 meters in 1000-1500 years. The picture below shows what Florida would like after 10,000 years with the continued rise in sea level...

Interestingly, Southern Florida is surrounded by many coral reefs due to the submerged land and limestone from thousands of years ago and the warm water. According to,  "Coral reefs only grow in shallow, clear sea water. Reefs will not form in areas where terrestrial sediments or murky storm waters might cover and smother reef organisms. For instance, the Gulf Stream moves sediments from the Mississippi River and other streams and rivers along the Gulf Coast. These sediments prevent reefs from developing along the northwestern coast of Florida. Now, Florida's coral reefs are now developing only in warm, clear water conditions of South Florida and the Keys."   

But it goes on to say: "Many reef organisms are restricted to select environments. [Only certain species] can tolerate the often rough wave energy on the seaside of the reef crest. Whereas, other species are adapted only to the shallow, warmer, and more restricted regions in the inner reef or reef flats. Other species are adapted to the cooler and deeper waters of the outer reef. Ocean currents erode and sweep some of the dead reef material into deeper water settings offshore."


-Florida 1,000,000 Years From Now-

 So...what? Right? If you think about the world in terms of a million years, or millions of years, there is a substantial difference between them, maybe not consecutively, but over a great deal of time, a lot of change can happen, including evolution. Looking ahead, and thinking in terms of a million years and what Florida is supposed to look like in 10,000 years (basically nonexistent), and the constraints (for lack of a better word) of reefs and the life they support, in a million years, the creatures inhabiting the reefs of southern Florida will have evolved and adapted to live in a larger reef system (like the Great Barrier Reef), despite the deposition from nearby rivers.


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