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Climate Change in My Region

I am a New York City resident and live in the northeastern part of the United States. It wasn’t until after the industrial revolution (around 1840), that climate throughout the world took a drastic change. For the northeastern U.S. and New York State, climate change has been especially evident since the 1900s.

There have been several signs of climate change in NYS. For starters the state has become warmer due to an overall increase in temperatures. Since 1970, the average yearly temperature through the state has gone up by . Since 1900, the sea levels have risen more than one foot and the rate in which they rise is expected to increase by the end of the 21st century. A large percentage of the global population live in coastal cities or areas close to the ocean. The same is true for those of us living in New York City and other parts of the state. If the sea level continues to rise, before long, residents living near the water will be more vulnerable to floods.

A more notorious sign of climate change is the time of transition between seasons, like from winter to spring. Compared to the 1950s, spring has begun at least a full week earlier in many areas of New York. Leaves start to regrow on trees and flowers begin to bloom days earlier compared to the mid-1900s. Bees arrive to pollinate about 10 days earlier than they did over a century ago. The place where birds and fish are expected to reproduce has shifted more to the north in the last several decades.

One common issue with climate change in the New York State area would be more hot days throughout the year, especially during the summer months. People are more likely to experience heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke. This is especially true for people working outdoors doing heavy labor. Bugs and insects carrying diseases are out and about longer, meaning people are more likely to get sick from a bug bite.

Map showing a simulation of subway flooding under storm surge levels similar to Hurricane Sandy. Battery Park is denoted with a black star. https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-rctom/submission/submerged-subways-how-will-the-mta-adapt-to-rising-seas/#_edn8

Living in New York City, the biggest threat climate change creates for us would probably be increased precipitation, especially during the summer months. If the city gets hit by a strong hurricane with very heavy rain, subways stations could face the risk of being flooded, despite engineering measures and precautions. For example, back in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, some subways in Manhattan were filled with water up and beyond the platforms, rendering subways inaccessible to the public and the MTA crew. If global warming and climate change continue their trend, the next hurricane that hits New York City could be even worse than the last one. Thankfully, some subways are above ground, meaning some train routes won’t be cut off.

I’m certain that climate change has affected my life without knowing it. However, what I do know is climate change has not significantly affected my life or denied me of any opportunities. However, there is one place in New York City that I appreciate very much that is especially vulnerable to flooding from heavy rain as an adverse effect of climate change. That would be the Coney Island beach and boardwalk, and the nearby MCU baseball stadium. When Hurricane Sandy hit, the rain brought the sea level so high that the front wall of the baseball stadium was submerged in five feet of water.

To make it simple, in New York City and the general northeastern part of the United States, global warming has a very subtle, insidious effect on the residents of the region. If no significant attempts to slow down climate change are made it means future generations of people will left dealing with even more severe outcomes.

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