Climate Change is any change in the climate over time due to natural variability or human activity. However, due to human activity-specifically agriculture, deforestation, and the burning of fossil fuel, the climate of regions throughout the world has changed. Human actions release extraordinary levels of greenhouse gases, which can lead to a multitude of problems, including glaciers melting, sea levels rising, floods, and much more. In my home region/country in New York within the USA, climate change has created severe coastal flooding, which, while it may not have affected me personally, definitely affected my family.
Effects between Climate Change and Severe Weather Storms
Coastal flooding in New York, as well as the rising sea levels in Manhattan, are direct results of climate change that have affected my home region. In 2012, Coney Island was hit with a major hurricane known as Hurricane Sandy. Some people claimed there was no relation between Hurricane Sandy and climate change; however, upon further research, scientists concluded this was not the case. They found that the route and power of a hurricane can be determined by climate change. According to Scientific American, global warming had an impact on Hurricane Sandy. “The oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. The Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us” (Fischetti, 2012). Global warming can drastically affect the power of hurricanes that in turn, can harm the people that have to endure it.
Since Coney Island is so close to the water, flooding reached up to the second floor, properties were destroyed, and my family members were trapped in their homes as their cars and belongings floated away; the water ultimately stayed stagnant for over a week. With winds reaching a max peak of 90 mph, Sandy was supposed to be a mere category one storm, yet the effects of global warming upgraded it by making it a superstorm.
During severe weather conditions like Hurricane Sandy, evacuating the dangerous areas are recommended, even mandatory. For some, the choice is easy. Nonetheless, for others, leaving behind their belongings and livelihoods not knowing what they will return to if they have anything to return to at all, is impossible. So while everyone else evacuated, my aunt Maybelline stayed. At the peak of the storm, Maybelline looked out her window and saw the water levels approaching the second floor of her building; she was terrified. She understood the gravity of the situation-first responders would not risk their lives for emergency assistance calls to anyone in evacuation zones who refused to leave.
Maybelline was unable to leave her apartment for several days later when the water had retreated. Her children endured their own issues. Her daughters, who lived near the boardwalk, struggled with their valuables and property getting destroyed. Fortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided financial assistance to the people in those affected areas. Maybelline’s son, Bob was also affected as well. He worked at a nearby facility as a mental health counselor and was unable to leave his job; the damage caused by the hurricane prevented public transportation services, rendering people stuck in wherever they were before the storm struck.
In addition to flooding in Coney Island, sea levels near coastlines along the East Coast have been rising steadily as the polar ice melts. One community that is already starting to see this is the borough of Manhattan. In fear of a repeat of Hurricane Sandy, caused an estimated 25 billion loss in revenue. The mayor presented the city’s first-ever Climate Resiliency Design guidelines noting that “danger waves are also now 20 times more likely to overwhelm the Manhattan Seawall than they were 170 years ago, according to the recent study” (Garfield, 2017). Rising sea level coastal flooding creates damages to not only individuals’ property but to the entire American economy. By finding it necessary to put a Climate Resiliency Design guideline shows that climate change is in one way or another affecting everyone in my region.
In conclusion, I have not been personally affected by the coastal flooding or hurricane caused by climate change, but my family members have been. Humans have caused these climate change issues, and it’s up to us to remedy them.
Fischetti, M. (2012, October 30). Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy? Scientific American. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/did-climate-change-cause-hurricane-sandy/
Garfield, L. (2017, May 15). Sea levels are rising faster than they have in 28 centuries- here’s where New York City could flood first. Business Insider. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/new-york-city-flood-sea-level-rise-2017-5
What is Climate Change? (2007). Slide Share. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from https://www.image.slidesharecdn.com/module10-definitioncausesofclimatechangeimpactonapregion-110408024319-phpapp01/95/module-10-definition-causes-of-climate-change-impact-on-ap-region-3-728.jpg?cb=1302230720
Rowell, A. (2021, October 30). Supersized Sandy Breaks Climate Change Silence. OilChange International. Retrieved April 9, 2020, from http://priceofoil.org/2012/10/30/supersized-sandy-breaks-climate-silence/