Scientists have known for decades that greenhouse gas emissions by humans are warming the planet. Now, climate change is becoming observable with rising seas, stronger storms, and more extreme temperatures. The good news is that, as a society, we have many of the solutions we need to address climate challenges. Boynton Beach is joining a network of cities around the world in working proactively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build our community’s resilience.
Climate and Flood Risks
King Tides are unusually high tides that occur each fall as a result of natural variations in atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Boynton Beach’s low-lying, coastal communities are vulnerable to tidal flooding which is likely to become more frequent and severe as sea levels rise. The City regularly maintains storm drains and catch basins, and has installed tidal valves in affected neighborhoods to reduce the impacts of high tides. The City also participates in the Community Rating System of the National Flood Insurance Program resulting in a 20% discount for flood insurance premiums within the City. Learn more.
Sea level rise is caused by two factors related to global warming: added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, and the expansion of sea water as it warms. Global sea level has risen about 8 inches since 1870, but amount and speed vary by location. Sea level is rising faster along the East Coast of the United States as a result of a slowing Gulf Stream. The 2015 Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida predicts sea level rise from 6 to 10 inches by 2030, 14 to 26 inches by 2060, and 31 to 61 inches by 2100. Because of South Florida’s porous limestone bedrock, sea water can come up through our drains and pipes, affecting inland as well as coastal areas.
Boynton Beach and other regional cities are considering sea level rise in future decisions about public infrastructure and facilities.
Climate change is warming the oceans and fueling stronger hurricanes. This has never been more clear than in the 2017 hurricane season, the first time three category 4 storms (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) made landfall in U.S. territory. Although the science of attributing any single extreme weather event to climate change is still developing, the general trend is indisputable. Warmer oceans also create more moisture in the air, increasing rainfall, while sea level rise worsens coastal flooding from storm surge.
With the growing likelihood of extreme storms, it is more important than ever to prepare your home and family for hurricane season. The City’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program offers one way to finance wind resistance home improvement projects.
Boynton Beach conducted a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory using 2006 data and an update with 2015 data. Overall, we documented a 7.7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from City Operations between 2006 and 2015. The City is on track to meet its goal of reducing emissions 27% below 2006 levels by 2035.
- Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact
- Palm Beach County Office of Resilience
- Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University
- Florida Climate Center
- NASA Climate Change
- NOAA Climate page
- U.S. Global Change Research Program Fourth National Climate Assessment
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change