Guest Column in Resiliency Florida Newsletter

Alec authored a guest column for the July 2017 Resiliency Florida Newsletter titled “Too Hot to Fly? Planning For The Unexpected.” The article is shared below. Be sure to check out to learn more about the organization, or check our the a brief description below the article.

Too Hot to Fly? Planning for the Unexpected.

In late June, a crippling heat wave across the Southwest United States caused temperatures to soar above 120°F, grounding dozen of flights aboard planes that could not operate under the extreme heat. Power utility companies in Arizona reported record-breaking power demand due to the need to run air conditioners almost continuously across the state. Some communities in California faced power outages because of the heat. Temperatures are expected to rise in the coming decades, and the excessive heat warnings issued across the southwest may be a sign of coming attractions.

While sea level rise is Florida’s most visible danger, extreme heat and storms, including hurricanes will also challenge our communities. The first step towards resilience is assessing and understanding vulnerabilities and risks. For long-term resilience and adaptation planning, individuals, businesses, and governments should consider comprehensive vulnerability and risk assessments. Such assessment will provide users with the full-suite of tools necessary to make well-informed planning decisions. However, tools exist for screening level exploration of future changes in your community, many of which are provided by the federal government.

NOAA’s is a tremendous resource for past, current, and near-term climate data. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and Climate Explorer allow a user to examine interactive graphs and maps for their location at a county-level. NOAA’s Digital Coast toolbox utilizes web-based mapping tool to visualize sea level rise, historical hurricane tracks, coastal flood exposure, ocean economy data, and much more.

Last month, I had the opportunity to present to the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus lead by Florida Congressmen Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26). I spoke about the economic effects of sea level rise and the need for better data for resilience planning. Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers also spoke to the caucus. Our federal and state government must continue to prioritize funding for agencies and programs like NOAA and Sea Grant, that provide the tools policy-makers require to make informed decisions. It is important to share individual stories about the importance of these programs.

There is plenty we know about our changing climate, but we cannot fully anticipate all of the long-term effects. What we can and must do is build communities that will quickly recover from potential shocks and stressors. This is why it is essential to have a unified message on resilience – it is about our ability to thrive even in the face of the unknown. This is part of the core mission of Resiliency Florida. Our communities need sustained funding and continued support on a local, state, and federal level to ensure that we have the resources necessary to be as resilient as possible. It is vital for our continued economic success.

About Resiliency Florida

Resiliency Florida is a leading voice in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., helping communities in their efforts to plan and adapt for the future impacts of weather and sea level rise. All communities in Florida face weather resiliency challenges, whether coastal or inland, and will benefit from resiliency planning.

Resiliency Florida is a non-profit organization made up of public and private partners dedicated to promoting the development of state and regional strategies and action plans to adapt to extreme weather and sea level rise, and to advocating for increased investment by the state and federal government in critical infrastructure and habitat throughout Florida to mitigate impacts and develop adaptation responses.

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