WBI Blog

Should I Not Buy a Home in Southwest Florida Due to Climate Change?

Scientists are very confident that global mean sea level will rise at least 8 inches (0.2 meter) but no more than 6.6 feet (2.0 meters) by 2100.

Source: Climate.gov

Let me first say that I realize that Climate Change is very politically charged and it's a controversial topic. I'm not here to argue about whether or not it's actually happening, or who you should vote for because of Climate Change. I'm not going to step into that mess. One of the things that I'll first point out however is that the estimates in the quote have a range of a factor of 10; as in 10X. They anticipate anywhere from 0.2 meters to 2.0 meters by the year 2100. That's like saying "I saw a man who was anywhere from 10 inches to 100 inches (that's 8 foot, 4 inches) tall." The cost of gas in 100 years could be anywhere from $10 to $100 per gallon. The quarterback threw anywhere between 10 yards and 100 yards (was it a first down or a touchdown?).

As a resident of Southwest Florida for the past 30 years, I've grown up along the coast; where the land meets the Gulf of Mexico. Naturally, when I hear the alarming reports about Climate Change encroaching on our cities, I think back to when I was a child and how our beaches weren't all that different. Fort Myers Beach had a bunch of sand pumped in from just off the coast since the beach faces erosion over time, but otherwise the water has pretty much stayed about the same. When I look at boat docks, sea-walls, piers, bridges and any other structure that was built directly on the water, you can see a better picture of how the sea levels have changed over time since these things were constructed; some of them up to a hundred years ago. If they were built a hundred years ago here in Florida and the sea level has risen as high as the scientists say that it has, then why aren't older docks and other structures under water, or at least close to it?

Now, according to climate.gov, they say that the sea level has risen by an average of about one-eighth of an inch per year. I have seen elsewhere where it has measured about 0.7 inches per decade during the twentieth century. Again, that's seven-tenths of an inch per ten years (0.7"/10year), or seven hundredths of an inch per year (0.07"/1year) and the absolute doomsday scenario that we keep hearing about doesn't occur until the year 2100.

Again, the year 2100. As in: 84 years from when I'm writing this.

I'll be 124 years old (or dead) in the year 2100. How old will you be?

Are you really worried about whether your home that you want to purchase now being flooded in the year 2100, 84 years from now?

If you are, then I would suggest that you don't move here, but for the rest of us who still have several decades of life to live enjoying the beaches, the sun, and the coastal lifestyle, I'm sure we'll be just fine.

At this point, you may be saying, "yeah, but what about our kids?" to which I'd remind you that Climate Change is supposedly irreversible and unavoidable at this point—according to scientists—and I'd say that they'll be fine even if the doomsday scenario happens. They'll just have to live further inland— which will be their new Gulf Coast.

Written by Tyler Small on Tuesday, August 16, 2016