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I was reading this article at theblaze.com that talks about an interview Al Gore had with Chris Wallace (shown on Fox News on Sunday Jun 4, 2017).

The article focuses on claims that Al Gore had made about climate change, such as that he made in his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and elsewhere that now seem alarmist. However here I would like to ask about the statement highlighted in bold in below quote from the article:

“Greenland, for example, has been losing one cubic kilometer of ice every single day. I went down to Miami and saw fish from the ocean swimming in the streets on a sunny day. The same thing was true in Honolulu just two days ago, just from high tides because of the sea level rise now,” he added.

There is no question that Al Gore said above, as it can be seen in this YouTube video starting at 9:17 point.

The question I would like to ask is, can you see fish swim on the streets in Miami because of the sea level rise?

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    There is a good answer here: miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article47483575.html I was in Miami last week, and definitely no fish or water in the streets. – DavePhD Jul 26 '17 at 0:53
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    Get a good storm surge, and I suspect you will see fish swimming in the streets. Remember New Orleans after Katrina? I also suspect it might be Miami Beach rather than Miami. See e.g. this BBC article about flooding there, and the engineering effort to raise the streets: bbc.com/future/story/… – jamesqf Jul 26 '17 at 4:42
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    @jamesqf and none of that is because of 'sea level rise' or 'global warming'. It's because of people building things too close to shorelines more and more... – jwenting Jul 26 '17 at 5:36
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    Politifact already dove into this water – Jan Doggen Jul 26 '17 at 9:41
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    @jwenting: Does the question state that the fish are swimming in the streets because of sea level rise? No. But if interested, you might search for accounts of fish in the streets in the same areas (to exclude Florida swampland real estate scams) prior to say 1950. – jamesqf Jul 27 '17 at 17:00
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Miami did have sunny day flooding, 3 feet above mean sea level, (2 feet higher than average high tide) in October and November of 2016.

In November, it was reported that fish and an octopus were in a parking garage due to such flooding.

However, this is primarily due to a local seasonal phenomenon, whereby tides are about 10 inches higher in mid-October than in the January to July time period (See slide 4 here), coupled with the moon phase, especially the 14 November 2016 super moon.

Overall, according to the slide presentation linked above, in the past 150 years, the sea level at Miami has risen 1 foot.

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    Good job on including Brian McNoldy's presentation on the topic. – ventsyv Jul 26 '17 at 14:22
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I believe what Al Gore is referring to is the so called "sunny day flooding", a phenomenon that has increased in frequency in recent years and has been tied to climate change. Here is a interesting graphic from the NY Times on the subject and here is the full article

Politifact has reviewed similar claim by Obama and rated it half true because where the fish was seen was not in the city proper but in the surrounding areas (like Miami Beach and Ft Lauderdale). They also address another instance of this claim being made by Al Gore to NPR in November 2015:

Our efforts to reach Gore were unsuccessful. However, Miami Beach officials told PolitiFact that Gore’s comment stems from a tour during a conference about climate change that happened to coincide with the king tides.

Miami Beach officials, including assistant city manager/public works director Eric Carpenter, showed Gore the impact of the tides on the state-owned Indian Creek Drive where the water washes over the sea wall onto the street.

"I absolutely saw the fish," Carpenter told PolitiFact. "You can actually see the fish swimming out of the creek, past the mangrove trees that are there and into the street. I probably saw close to a dozen. They weren’t big fish, but I don’t know, two or three inches long?"

Another article about it by the Miami Herald

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I know this is only one data point, but I've been to Miami several times and never seen fish swim in the streets.

Can't say it never happens during storm tides, but if such came so high in Miami that there was large scale flooding it'd make national if not world wide news and I'd almost certainly have heard about it (and so would you). Tides high enough to cause enough water to stand in the streets for fish to swim in would be the result of tsunami like events, which'd wreck the city (think the Indonesia Christmas tsunami, Fukushima, or Katrina).

I've not heard of anything even close to such devastation in southern Florida after hurricane Andrew levelled Homestead in the 1980s (I think it was).

So if it happened it's almost certainly been decades. And it'd be extremely rare. Were it caused by "sea level rise" Miami would have been abandoned by now, and it'd happen (nearly) every day.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • It seems like the references in the other answers contradict the personal stories described here. – Mark Rogers Jul 26 '17 at 14:16
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    Anecdotal evidence is not reliable in most cases. – ventsyv Jul 26 '17 at 14:21
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    I've been to Florida lots of times, but I've never seen a hurricane. Clearly, hurricanes never hit Florida. – Mike Kellogg Jul 28 '17 at 20:43

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