South Florida beaches slowly disappearing

In 2003, the city of Hollywood lost about 75 feet of sand all along its beachfront. Showers, lifeguard stations, royal palms and volleyball nets fell into the ocean. I remember standing on the Broadwalk and looking down into the water which, the month before, had been about 100 yards away.

The really unbelievable element in all of this is the cause of this sudden reduction in the beach. A breeze, a steady 20 mph wind out of the east, blew for about eight straight days. As you know if you ever watched The Perfect Storm, wind blowing over the ocean can whip up some serious waves. In this case, the waves weren't serious -- nothing over about three feet, certainly nothing worth surfing on -- but because of the relentless steadiness of the wind, the waves chipped away at the beach, eroding mind-boggling amounts of sand.

As this NY Times article points out, wind isn't the only factor in this equation. Rising sea levels, even fairly innocuous amounts of sea-level rise, can have dramatic effects on a waterfront area. Every day, when I'm driving to work, I think about all the people in their fat SUVs and how their exhaust pipes are going to drown us all in a lake ofnew waterfront property as the old stuff slips under the waves. Happy reading!