When the King Tides reached their peak around 10:30 AM on Sunday, September 29, CARTA Journalism + Media students and faculty were ready for them at Sea Level Solutions Day at Vizcaya Village and Garage. Teams of students, faculty and concerned citizens fanned out across Miami Dade County to measure “sunny day” flooding in low-lying neighborhoods, caused by some of the highest high tides of the year.
Equipped with “citizen science” kits that included tape measures, refractometers (salinity meters), water sample bottles and their smartphones, teams took measurements in areas ranging from Coconut Grove to Brickell to Shorecrest to Little River and Key Biscayne. They took photos of flooded areas and measurements with the help of 3D printed frames created by CARTA’s Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) and uploaded their data to an interactive web form developed by Journalism + Media professor, Dr. Susan Jacobson. She created a dynamic map that shows the results of their work.
The citizen scientists took two readings: the first one at 9:30 AM, about an hour before the high tide, and again at 10:30 AM, at about the peak of the high tide. The data showed that the floodwater rose between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM, which reinforces the fact that the floodwaters rise and fall with the high tides.
Since 2015, the FIU Sea Level Solutions Center (SLSC), part of the Institute for Water and the Environment (InWE) has been co-hosting Sea Level Solutions Days with the Department of Journalism + Media and many community partners. Led by Tiffany Troxler, Scientific Director of SLSC, and Dr. Jacobson, this citizen science project engages community members in tracking the water levels during high tides and raising awareness about how rising seas will impact local communities. “We have two goals: first, to help citizens better understand the impact of sea level rise on their neighborhoods, and, second, to collect useful data about the location and extent of flooding,” Dr. Jacobson said. “Studies show that, when citizens get involved in environmental science activities, their awareness of, understanding of and concern with their environment increases.”
Sea Level Solutions Day bring together many stakeholders around the city, including the Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience, City of Miami, CLEO Institute, Catalyst Miami, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The next Sea Level Solutions Day will take place on October 27, 2019. Register here to participate in the next citizen science event: (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-sea-level-solutions-day-tickets-72272698587)
Check out the Miami Herald’s story on FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Day here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article235551757.html