Climate Change and the Florida Keys

This report addressed the socioeconomic and ecological effects that may arise from climate change in the Florida Keys, including two appendices that identify key issues related to the future of the Keys over the 21st century. Four background papers address the global environment (Hoegh Guldberg 2010a,b,c,d), which are described first to put the Florida Keys into context. This research is part of the Socioeconomic Research and Monitoring Program in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, as conducted by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA).

Chapter 4 provides an overview of the Florida Keys, starting with a description of the physical, demographic and economic setting, and highlights the salient points relevant to climate change and the future of the area. The Key's Monroe County is described in detail, addressing land use growth and trends, economic characteristics, transportation, environmental resources, historic resources, and the County's "green teams." The issues affecting the Keys are discussed, with climate change considered the primary issue. 

Chapter 5 describes the biophysical research conducted in the sanctuary with a focus on coral cover and trends in commercial fishery landings, inclusive of details for specific industry relevant species. Section 5.3 shows statistics, while Section 5.4 notes some of the ongoing work on marine life biology and ecology around the Florida Keys. 

Chapter 6 presents socioeconomic and related indicators for the region, including population trends, and extensive statistics on tourism. The problems of measuring the market and non-market values of the Florida Keys ecosystem are discussed in Section 6.5.
Chapter 7 opens with a thorough examination of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report four model estimates of future climate change scenarios, and their applicability twelve years or so after they were written. The relationship between the projections of global sea level rise and the degree of inundation expected in the Florida Keys is described, along with details of differences between the estimated rates of inundation from area to area and the estimated value of the areas at risk. Each of the four scenarios are explained, from a global, national and "zooming in on the Keys" perspective. Projections for the Keys were developed for each scenario looking at population trends, income, remaining land, coral cover, and total income.

A series of policy recommendations are included at the conclusion of the report with many resiliency and climate adaptation policies reviewed. 

This study was funded by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. 

Publication Date: July 21, 2010

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Hans Hoegh‐Guldberg

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Scenario planning

States Affected:


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