Fort Lauderdale always has been defined by its water and its weather. As the “Venice of America,” our beautiful City offers 337 miles of coastline, and our breezy semi-tropical climate produces sunny skies nearly 250 days per year. The sun and sea were the impetus for Fort Lauderdale’s early development, and they remain major drivers of our economy and key factors in our quality of life. Since the early 20th century, people have visited and moved here to enjoy our beaches, fishing, and water sports. From Spring Break tourism to Port Everglades cruise and cargo, from the Swimming Hall of Fame to yacht provisioning, from deep sea fishing to riverside cafes—it is all possible because of our climate.
Yet as much as climate benefits our City, it now presents one of our greatest challenges. Today, the City of Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida region are areas considered among most vulnerable to climate change in the world. The convergence of our geography, rising seas and weather cycles is apparent. For the foreseeable future, into the next generation and the one following that, we will be increasingly challenged by flooding, heat, and saltwater.
Our vision is that as a community “We Are Ready,” and that means proactively addressing challenges like stormwater flooding, salt intrusion to the water supply, and extreme weather events. These challenges are not easy to address, but they can be and they are, with careful and coordinated planning and action.
We are proud to be among the nation’s most progressive populations when it comes to climate resiliency. City leadership is at the forefront of mitigation and adaptation activity in our region. Private residents, businesses and organizations, and students and teachers are all getting involved. Our 2013 Neighbor Survey showed that 56% of our residents consider themselves informed about climate change, 57% have observed increased temperatures, and 64% have observed coastal water level increases, and these percentages increased year over year.
To our neighbors, climate change is no longer just a global scientific topic. It is real, local, and personal.
The bottom line: We all want our city to be a great place to live, work, and play -- now, next year, and also in a hundred years. None of us know exactly what will happen, but we think it is wise to seek out, consider, and talk openly about all available information. These web pages are designed to answer our neighbors’ call for climate information specific to Fort Lauderdale. Here you will find projections for our region, impacts we can expect and how the City is preparing, innovations being piloted in our area, and what you can do to make a difference.