President Barack Obama uses Miami as example at United Nations climate summit

Ocean changes cause Miami Beach flooding, hurt coral reefs off S. Fla.

Changes in cloud formation may speed up global warming.
Changes in cloud formation may speed up global warming.

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – In the Florida Keys, under water, coral reefs have been suffering due to global warming, scientists said. And in Miami Beach, dealing with flooding is a lifestyle.

Divers have reported the water temperature shifts underwater. Scientists at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility in Key Biscayne focus on the issue and express concern.

"No one is immune from climate change," the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday in front of world leaders. China and India were among those not present.

President Barack Obama mentioned Miami's flooding problems in his speech at the U.N., Tuesday. Environmental activists nationwide were asking world leaders to recommit to the unsuccessful two-decade long effort to cut  green gas emissions.

Obama promised the U.S. would cut emissions to 17 percent by 2020. French President Francois Hollande said his country will invest $1 billion on clean power in poor countries.  Dozens of world leaders -- not including China and India  -- made a commitment to end deforestation.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio helped to market the event. But many in South Florida worry about that not being enough. 

"Coral reefs around the globe are suffering from unprecedented and devastating bleaching events," NOAA Research Oceanographer Derek P. Manzello said in an exclusive Local 10 News Editorial.

Manzello said changes in temperature were causing coral reefs -- usually vibrant in color -- to expel nutrients that are vital to their existence. The "heat-stress," he said, causes the corals to weaken and die.

"The amount of live coral and overall health of Florida Keys reef ecosystems has already plummeted to extremely low levels," Manzello said.

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With two months left on the calendar, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through October, the average global temperature has been 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century global average of 57.4 F. October was the hottest October on record globally.