Everglades Needs More Fresh Water to Fight Salt Water Intrusion - Florida Climate Institute

201802fiu-everglades.jpgFebruary 5, 2018 (Source: FIU) - As sea levels continue to rise, more areas of the coastal Everglades will be susceptible to salt water intrusion, according to a new FIU study.

Sea levels rose 2.2 centimeters annually from 2011 to 2015, according to scientists in FIU’s Southeast Environmental Research Center and FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center. In 2012, sea levels rose 10 centimeters in the dry season months of December to May and have not subsided. Many factors contributed to the drastic increase in 2012, including melting ice sheets, a strong La Niña season in 2011, and slow ocean currents that allowed sea water to pile up along coastlines. Parts of the coastal Everglades that were once flooded by sea water about 70 percent of the time are now covered by sea water 90 percent of the time.

“Salt water intrudes farther inland when there is a small difference between Everglades fresh water levels and sea level,” said Shimelis Dessu, postdoctoral research associate in the Southeast Environmental Research Center and lead author of the paper. “Salinity is an indicator of the coastal Florida Everglades’ health.”

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