Sea Level Rise is a Priority Focus for FIU

A king tide in Shorecrest

Among the most important issues of our time, sea level rise is a priority focus at FIU.

Did You Know?

1. By 2030, we expect mean sea level rise will result in an increase of up to 6 more inches of sea level rise in the Miami area alone.

2. With no intervention (flood mitigation) and at this rate of increase, we might expect up to 20 percent of Miami-Dade county land area to be submerged by 2030, with about 1% of urban areas affected.

3. This rise would result in more frequent spring and fall high tide “sunny day” flooding, with up to 30% of land area flooded during these events. The impact will be felt significantly in more populated areas, affecting property and local transportation for residents, tourists and goods.

4. Without intervention, seawater intrusion may affect 25-30% of our fresh water supply in South Florida.

FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center

This July, the Sea Level Solutions Center (SLSC) celebrates its first anniversary. FIU accepted the challenge to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty and community partners to advance understanding of sea level rise. We are creating the knowledge systems necessary to inform decision-making and enable action.

Even before SLSC, FIU has been on the forefront in sea level rise research, education and community partnerships.

Year in Review

From November 2014 to March 2015, architecture faculty exhibited 3 years of graduate student and faculty work in “Miami 2100: Envisioning a Resilient Second Century.” We are now searching for a permanent home for this groundbreaking collection.

In 2014 and early 2015, our communications faculty and students developed and released two award-winning documentaries: South Florida’s Rising Seas and South Florida’s Rising Seas Impact.

To build climate change resiliency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Exercise Division partnered with FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center and Southeast Environmental Research Center on September 21 and 22. Decision makers piloted the “Climate Adaptation, Preparedness and Resilience” seminar to provide local community leaders with knowledge and tools to assess and improve their capabilities to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from climate impacts, including sea level rise.

From September 28th to 30th, Former US Vice President Al Gore and his Climate Reality Leadership Corps offered training in climate science, communications and grassroots organizing to inspire communities to take action. SLSC Director Dr. Tiffany Troxler shared insight on the causes and effects of global greenhouse gases, as well as alternative sources of energy and solutions to sea level rise. The training corresponded with the 2015 king tide and Gore joined Mayor Levine in a tour of Miami Beach to explore the frontlines of sea level rise. Meanwhile, FIU students and faculty took to the streets with video recorders and water quality instruments to document “sunny day” flooding. Results were shared through news articles and panel discussions.

Coinciding with the Paris Climate Change Conference last winter, Artist-in-Residence Xavier Cortada presented CLIMA – a solo art exhibit addressing sea level rise and global climate change – and the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact released a 2015 Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida.

In partnership with the City of Miami Beach and funded by the National Science Foundation, FIU and SLSC have joined the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network. The Network is comprised of multiple institutions and agencies across the US and Latin America, and links academics and practitioners to co-produce the framework and transition toward urban resilience.

Spring 2016 saw a wealth of events, training opportunities for FIU students, and extensive press on sea level rise in South Florida.

TEDxFIU featured Todd Crowl, co-founder of the SLSC and inaugural Director of the Institute for Water and Environment. SLSC partnered with the City of Coral Gables on a Sea Level Rise Discussion Series and Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce on a Sea Level Rise Solutions Conference.

With partners at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, SLSC and its faculty experts developed, designed and analyzed climate-responsive solutions using a multi-dimensional, integrated social, ecological and engineering approach that was featured as a semester-long SLSC interdisciplinary studio.

This year, we experienced a profound loss in the community of pioneers on sea level rise in South Florida, Pete Harlem. Pete used digital visualization of sea level rise to help communicate these issues and his maps were highly circulated. He is greatly missed.

This summer, SLSC’s faculty and sea level rise research was featured in FIU Magazine.

On June 1st, the SLSC moved into its new home at the Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) on Lincoln Road. This unique partnership will enable continued interdisciplinary activities and data-driven work on sea level solutions and further our partnerships in the Miami Beach community.

On June 16, FIU President Mark Rosenberg announced sea level rise and resilience among his top priorities as Chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Get Involved!

The upcoming year promises exceptional opportunities for SLSC and for FIU alumni to engage. SLSC will continue to focus on interdisciplinary research, design and analyses to further its work on adaptation and mitigation solutions in South Florida. Please join us in fostering relationships within business and residential communities, academic institutions and government agencies to advance this goal.

On August 30, we will host a public SLR lecture to officially open SLSC doors at MBUS.

Join us on October 16 for SLSC’s inaugural Sea Level Solutions Day. Activities will include a sea level rise forum and opportunities to engage in citizen science.

Donate now to support the Sea Level Solutions Center.

Please contact us at to participate and to sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Tiffany Troxler, PhD
Director, Sea Level Solutions Center & Research Associate Professor,
Southeast Environmental Research Center, Institute for Water & Environment and
Department of Biological Sciences

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