Compounding the city’s vulnerability to major weather events is the worldwide phenomenon of sea-level rise. Due to thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting of ice sheets and glaciers in the Earth’s far latitudes, the global mean sea level is rising. How fast and how much is a matter of debate, with such federal agencies as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projecting, on the low end, eight inches of sea-level rise by the year 2100, and, on the high end, as much as six feet.
But Miami Beach, a low-lying city to begin with, is already feeling the effects of sea-level rise. Every time there’s a heavy rain, the locals brace for flooding on Alton Road, the main north-south thoroughfare of the city’s west side, as well as on smaller roads in the area, such as Purdy Avenue, where Levine filmed his commercial. The city’s bay side is more susceptible to flooding than its ocean side because it lies lower, less than two feet above sea level in some sections, and was built on cleared swampland that still wants to be what it used to be: a mangrove swamp.