With apologies to my loyal readers (OK, just John) for my intermittent posts, I spent the last week doing some 'field research' in the Florida Keys. My goal was to observe the effects of climate change first hand. And let me tell you my field observations are revealing.
- It's freaking hot in August in the Keys. And it's been getting hotter for the last couple of decades--at least according to Captain Tony--the Lyin' Hawaiian. And who wouldn't trust someone with that name?
- Despite my many efforts, climate change makes it extremely difficult to keep beer cold outside. I tried again, and again, and again, and again...to keep my beer cold until I reached the bottom, but the only reliable solution I came up with was to drink faster.
- 90 degree water temperatures are only mildly refreshing when the heat index is 110.
- Sea grasses in the flats and bays south of the Everglades are struggling to survive high water temperatures--at least according to Captain Tony (the Lyin' Hawaiian--see #1). Water temperatures in Key Largo Bay are about 4 degrees above normal (according to the Lyin' Hawaiian). According to SeaWeb (I don't know--I just Googled it): "Increases in water temperature would reduce the productivity and cause the die-back of those seagrasses growing in areas already around the upper limit of their thermal tolerance." Captain Tony says the current die off rivals that of the early 2000's and he doesn't have much hope for a recovery of the sea bed in and around the flats of Key Largo--He even suggested the only reasonable solution would be for the Federal Government to invoke eminent domain ("They should use eminent, er, what's that word? Damn it's hot out here") to preserve he sea beds in the flats.
- During my field research, my assistant (14 year old only son of Env-Econ--OSEE) and I were able to observe close-up some of the fish species in the flats of Key Largo and South Florida. Here's are a couple of observational exhibits. The first is OSEE (and the Lyin' Hawaiian) battling Jaws--a 5 foot bull shark. The second is the 4.5 foot black tip I was able to observe. No fish were harmed (other than the bate fish) in this observational study--although I think the two sharks wanted to harm some humans before we released them back to their habitat. The last picture is me and OSEE with another of OSEE's catches. I don't remember the specie, because at that point climate change had affected my cognitive abilities-even the Lyin' Hawaiian was complaining how hot it was.