With South Florida at the leading edge of sea level concerns, a just-released report puts a new timeline on rising waters, and puts many coastal cities on notice.
"We are not going to feasibly protect every coastal community in the U.S. The scope of the problem is just too large," Kristy Dahl, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said.
South Florida is familiar with the chronic flooding.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists report released this week, we're barely getting our toes wet.
"We realized that this frequent flooding is going to be setting in much sooner, decades sooner than that permanent inundation that that we think of as sea level rise," Dahl said.
Computer simulations show South Florida's projected sea level rise within the next century.
The new report adds tide gauge records and digital elevation models, and finds more and higher flooding in our coastal cities -- and hundreds of other cities -- in just the next 20 years.
"We really need to think about changing the ways we're living along the coast, and for some coastal communities that may mean having to retreat from the coastline," Dahl said.
The cranes show more building along South Florida's coastline. The cities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on raising and strengthening buildings and on pumping.
The report indicates that, eventually, may not be enough.
"It's going to mean some difficult choices, not just for communities in South Florida but in many parts of the country," Dahl said. "The reality is that some of it may not be able to be kept above water."