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How Climate Change Affects My Home by City Tech Blogger Eduardo Bravo

For the past 10 years I have experienced many natural disasters that have affected New York City. People are starting to take notice that the unusual weather patterns we are experiencing might be due to climate change, a hard reality to accept. In December 2015, I can remember the temperature being around 60°F during Christmas Eve. I was surprised by that registered temperature. Usually, in December we register very cold, wintery temperatures, not spring-like temperatures.  According to scientists, the earth is closer to the sun, therefore, producing colder temperatures, so most of the time it will snow around Christmas Eve.  This event and others like it piqued my curiosity and I started to question why we are experiencing these unusual temperatures. I read that the greenhouse effect was the main reason.

http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/effect-green-house.html

The exchange of incoming and outgoing radiation that warms the Earth is often referred to as the greenhouse effect and is a natural phenomenon where solar energy passes through the atmosphere and warms the Earth. The absorption of excess sunlight forms greenhouse gases are released into the earth’s atmosphere instead of reflecting back out into space. But burning fossil fuels and deforestation, to name a few human activities, have added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, trapping solar energy and heating up the earth’s atmosphere. The change in temperature on earth is having a clear impact on the climate, which is changing and which we know as global warming.

Climate change not only affects temperature, but it also affects disease. For example, the high concentration of ultra violet rays in the atmosphere can increase cancer. Cancer develops when our cells do not function properly. Our cells carry out different mechanisms to keep us alive, and these mechanisms require a specific amount of light to be carried out. Also needed is DNA, which contains the information in our genes that tell a cell how to function. The constant exposure to ultraviolet light will cause our genes to undergo mutations, and these mutations will cause the DNA base pairs to change affecting how they are supposed to function. The accumulation of these mutated cells will then develop into cancer.

http://www.nyharbornature.com/uploads/6/9/1/8/69187715/131939822-11n_orig.jpg

I live in College Point close to the East River, where I often visit a park nearby my house, and I started to notice how the sea level was rising. 6 years ago there was a public space for people to exercise near a river. 2 years ago, this same area closed because the city deemed it unsafe due to the rising sea levels. If climate change continues and the sea levels keep rising,  my city and areas that we frequently use will have to remain closed because they will be unsafe.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m also a New Yorker and like you, I’ve also experienced how New York City has been affected by climate change date to date. As you Eduardo, I will also never forget December of 2015. I personally enjoyed the “good” spring weather conditions in the middle of the winter but still terrified knowing that having almost 70 degree Fahrenheit in the middle of December was all a product of climate change and that sooner or later it will back fire on us.

  2. I agree that NYC has experienced unusual weather conditions in the past 10 years. We can relate this to climate change. There has been a variety of climate change impacts that have already been observed in New York and across the northeastern United States. These impacts include temperature, precipitation, sea level rise and natural resources. The annual average temperature in NY state has risen about 2.4°F since 1970 and the winters have been warmer than average by 4.4°F. This is equivalent to an increase of about 0.25°F per decade since 1900. Annual average temperatures have increased in all regions of the state. Overall, the average annual precipitation has increased across NY State since 1900. Almost every year we have seen an increase. New York is getting more precipitation in the winter and less precipitation in the summer. Between 1958 and 2010, the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events increased more than 70% across the northeastern United States. Sea levels along New York’s coast have already risen more than a foot since 1900. They are rising at a rate of about 1.2 in per decade, which is almost twice the observed global rate (0.7 inches per decade) over the same period. Spring begins a week earlier than it did a few decades ago. In many areas of New York, the first leaf date is more than 8 days earlier and the first bloom date is more than 4 days earlier than in the 1950s. Winter snow cover is decreasing. Pollinating bees in the northeastern United States arrive about 10 days earlier than they did in the 1880s. New York breeding bird and oceanic fish population ranges have shifted northward over the last several decades.

    If we don’t try and stop climate change, the impacts on NY state will get even worse. New York should anticipate more warming. Compared to the 1971-2000 period, average temperature will be up to 3°F warmer by the 2020s, 6°F warmer by the 2050s and 10°F warmer by the 2080s. The most warming is expected to occur in northern NY state. By 2100, our growing season could be about a month longer, with intense summers and milder winters. New York is also likely to experience more precipitation and more variability in precipitation. Compared to the 1971-2000 period, average precipitation in New York will increase up to 8% by the 2020s, 12% by the 2050s and 15% by the 2080s. By 2100, the biggest precipitation increases are projected for northern NY state and in the winter months. By the 2050s, sea level is expected to be as much as 30 inches higher in New York’s coastal area, as compared with sea level averaged for 2000-2004. By 2100, New York’s coast could see up to 6 feet of sea-level rise. New York is very vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise, including storm surge and coastal flooding. Climate change poses a variety of health risks. Widespread impacts may occur as a result of warmer temperatures increasing pollen production in plants and ground-level ozone formation, which exacerbates asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions. Changed climate conditions also may lead to insects carrying disease such as mosquitoes and ticks, making West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and other diseases more widespread and eventually leading to new pests and diseases.

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