Climate Change to Hit New York State Exceptionally Hard

(Photography: Eva Abrieu via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

A new report compiled from the research of 50 climate scientists has some dire news for New York state — global warming is expected to impact the region more adversely than it will others, due to its unique “geography and geology”. Temperatures in New York have risen twice as high as the global average, and will continue to rise at a disproportionately rapid rate.

The sort of changes in climate we’ve come to expect will occur here — hotter summers, warmer winters, more heat waves and exacerbated droughts — though potentially in a more extreme manner than other regions.

From Columbia’s Earth Institute:
Global warming is not evenly distributed; because of its northerly latitude, New York has already warmed 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 40 years—more than twice the global average. The report projects a further 1.5 to 3-degree rise by the 2020s; 3 to 5.5 degrees by the 2050s; and 4 to 9 degrees by the 2080s.
Sea level rise–a foot in the last century—has also surpassed the global average of 7 inches. Ocean currents and other factors unevenly distribute ongoing sea-level rise around the globe; New York is one place where seas have risen higher and will continue to do so. Also, the interior of the state is still slowly rebounding from heavy glaciers that pushed down the surface tens of thousands of years ago—but as land rises inland, the coast, like a hinge, is slowly tilting into the rising water.

The aim of the report is to collect data pertinent to state and city planners, so that officials might better prepare for the incoming effects of climate change. For instance, by 2080, flooding to New York’s subway system could be far more regular. Farming, a $4.5 billion a year industry, could suffer lower yields. A multitude of urban planning adjustments must be made, in order to correct for rising sea level and worsening storms. And hopefully, these findings will turn the public’s head in a way previous research has been unable to do — folks tend to pay more attention to incoming crises when they live in harm’s way.

Author: Brian Merchant
Source: TreeHugger – A Discovery Company



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