David Hastings Offers Insight into How Climate Change Could Impact Florida in the Near Future  


David Hastings has been a prominent educator and researcher in marine science and environmental science for over 25 years. Over the course of his career, he has been involved in the analysis and prediction of climate change by determining climate variability in the geological record.  Knowing the extent of past changes in climate enables researchers to develop and test climate models which are important in assessing future climate change. In collaboration with other scientists, Dr. Hastings  has also been involved with assessing how changes in climate could impact his home state of Florida.  David Hastings believes the diverse impacts of climate change could affect the state of Florida in many different ways.

David Hastings and Others Point to Sea Level as a Major Concern

Florida is well known for being a beautiful peninsula with over 1200 miles of picturesque coastline. This has led to the substantial development of beachside communities, which is problematic since these towns could be impacted by the impacts of climate change. As global temperatures continue to rise, glaciers and ice sheets will melt and warming oceans take up more volume. This, in turn, will lead to a rise in ocean levels that could lead to severe flooding throughout the state.

Impact on Economy

Higher temperatures will likely lead to an impact on the economy in the state of Florida. The state is an exporter of oranges, other varieties of citrus, and produce including grapes, strawberries, pecans, and broccoli. Plants aren’t that different from people; neither like the extreme heat and they have a hard time fighting off disease in hotter climates. Florida is also known for having a lot of fish in the oceans which is enjoyed by many. If temperatures continue to rise, it will change the ability of fish to survive and could lead to a migration of fish. This and declining agricultural crops could both impact the state’s economy. 

Stronger and More Frequent Hurricanes

Another concern that David Hastings and others have for the state of Florida is the impact of hurricanes. Global climate models predict hurricanes will likely cause more intense rainfall; coastal flooding due to storm surges is predicted. Florida is prone to numerous hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean basin including hurricanes Ian and Nicole in 2022. While the frequency of storms may decrease or remain unchanged, the hurricanes that do form are likely to be more intense. The warmer surface ocean waters can make hurricanes stronger. At the same time, a warmer climate could extend the period of the year in which hurricanes can take place. The economic impact of hurricanes is huge; an expert in disaster modeling said Hurricane Ian could cost as much as $67 billion in economic damages. 

Dangerous Heat Waves

David Hastings and others are also concerned about extreme heat and dangerous heat waves in Florida. This state is already known for having warm and humid weather in the summer, which can be dangerous in some situations. An increase in average global temperatures could make this worse, which could lead to more hazards and put a strain on the electrical grid.Climate change is a significant concern for many people and professionals, including David Hastings. While there are many risks and potential hazards in the state of Florida, there are numerous approaches to reduce or lessen the impacts of human-induced climate change. Hastings continues to work with local governments and elected officials to find ways to reduce these risks and find a way to mitigate potential worst-case scenarios.

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