You’re going to get wet

Image from The Economist magazine.

Image from The Economist magazine.

I lived for a few years in a home on Vancouver Island a few feet from the ocean, and had an interest in global warming increasingly creeping water up towards home during the coming years.

I didn’t see the sense living in a million-dollar home with a million-dollar ocean view if in 20-40 years you need a submarine to get to your car.

Lately, I’ve seen more and more waterfront homes coming on the market for $4-28 million dollars. Maybe these owners are deciding to get out while the getting is good.

Before Hurricane Sandy tore through New York and New Jersey, it stopped in Florida. Huge waves covered beaches, swept over Fort Lauderdale’s concrete sea wall and spilled onto A1A, Florida’s coastal highway. Beach erosion forced Fort Lauderdale to buy sand from an inland mine in central Florida; the mine’s soft, white sand stands out against the darker, grittier native variety.

Even as seas have risen over the past century, Americans have rushed to build homes near the beach. Storms that lash the modern American coastline cause more economic damage than their predecessors because there is more to destroy. The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, a Category 4 storm, caused $1 billion-worth of damage in current dollars. Were it to strike today the insured losses would be $125 billion, reckons AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe-modelling firm. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, caused $23 billion in damage; today it would be twice that.

The Economist magazine has a great article titled “You’re going to get wet”. Well worth reading.

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