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What are the biggest risks/threats facing your region/country? Flooding Versus New York City! by CityTech blogger Yocelyne Portillo

It is no surprise that climate change has affected us in many ways. More specifically, climate change has affected the USA. And depending on the place or state you reside, the effect of climate change may be different. In this article I will like to discuss the effects climate change has on my home region of New York City (NYC). The big issues NYC faces are flooding and sea level rise.


NYC is surrounded by water and throughout its history, it has relied on this water for transporting shipments and people from place to place. However, the city as we know it, could be affected by a rise in sea level that could lead to more flooding.


As a result of global warming, sea level is rising. This rise in sea level is causing an increase on the strength of storms that could cause greater damage to the city than usual flooding. In the article, “Climate Change Will Bring Major Flooding to New York Every 5 Years” by Robinson Meyer, a study conducted by a group of climate scientists estimates that higher sea level will lead to greater storm surges and increase in intense hurricanes. Robinson Meyer says, “New York City has experienced 7.5-foot floods several times in the past decade. Superstorm Sandy loosed 10- or 11-foot floods on much of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, killing 43 people and inundating more than 88,000 buildings.” Additionally, according to the article, NYC also faces a threat from the possible collapse of the West Antarctic Ice sheet.  The collapse of the ice sheet is a threat because the “powerful gravitational pull currently keeps sea levels on that coast usually low.” therefore, if the ice sheet collapses, there could be greater flooding.


Flooding and sea level rise are big threats to NYC as they increase in the near and distant future. If we don’t act now, those years could come closer than we think. There is only so much scientists can do to estimate the time and effects of climate change damages. It’s better to prepare now than to lament the disasters later.

Photo Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

5 Responses

  1. The study of natural disasters is very important not only to a geologist, it is also crucial for people to know what nature is doing. As you mentioned, about how climate change causes sea levels to rise which leads to greater storm and intense hurricanes in NYC, it makes me think of the drought in Syria, 2006. In this hard time, people were lacking water to raise crops in farms. Therefore, the production of food decreased significantly. I would like to know what are the possible ways we can act so that we can be better prepared for the disasters that might happen again?

  2. Though Hurricane Sandy left 43 persons dead, it did manage to bring about some good. New York City’s awareness of the damage on life and property that natural disasters such as Sandy has increased. More so, much of the focus has be allocated to flooding areas, coastal zones, and coastal defenses. There has been a multitude of green job training programs in New York City that are free of cost, teaching unskilled workers to be more efficient in the green market. Such training in green jobs is equally as important as the scientists/geologist working to see what changes can be done to protect New York or even aid in creating policy to bring about change. Someone must be trained to get the physical job done, and that’s where green job training comes in. Projects such as the Big U allows those persons from the green job sector to act out the policy created by the bigger heads.

    So far, New York has done a fair job bringing together those green job workers, with policy makers in order to bring about a sustainable change/a more resilient New York.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Danielle. Perhaps you might share more information about the green jobs training programs in NYC. That would be helpful for us at ClimateYou to know about and to spread the word
      thanks again,

  3. It’s ironic that you mentioned that floods threaten NYC when at the moment wildfires are threatening Southern California. Studies show that climate change has influenced the spread of the wildfires in the sense that it has pulled the moisture out of the vegetation and soil making them extremely dry and vulnerable to fires. California’s temperature has increased by two degrees during the second half of the 20th century and this has also caused drier lands. While New York City is surrounded by water and was impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Southern California is battling a wildfire that has destroyed thousands of home and acres of land. In the distant future we can see climate change having a larger impact in both regions of the country; more wildfires in California and more flooding/ hurricanes in New York City.

    1. Nicely put, Kelvin. As you point out, it’s important to make the connection between weather and climate change, especially when the conditions are extreme. Thanks for your comment

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