Major storms could submerge New York City in next decade
Irene-like storms of the future would put a third of New York City streets under water and flood many of the tunnels leading into Manhattan in under an hour because of climate change, a new state government report warns Wednesday.
“The risks and the impacts are huge,” said Art deGaetano, a climate scientist at Cornell University and lead author of the ClimAID study. “Clearly areas of the city that are currently inhabited will be uninhabitable with the rising of the sea.”
But we don’t have to worry about this until way, way into the future, right?
The report, commisioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said the effects of sea level rise and changing weather patterns would be felt as early as the next decade.
By the mid-2020s, sea level rise around Manhattan and Long Island could be up to 10 inches, assuming the rapid melting of polar sea ice continues. By 2050, sea-rise could reach 2.5ft and more than 4.5ft by 2080 under the same conditions.
The report, which was two years in the making, was intended to help the New York state government take steps now to get people out of harm’s way - and factor climate change into long-term planning to protect transport, water and sewage systems.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was so concerned that he went on to commission an even more detailed study of the city after receiving early briefings on the report.
That makes him an outlier among his fellow Republicans, who blocked funds for creating a new climate service in budget negotiations in Congress this week.
Durr hurr! If we take away funding from climate change research, it won’t happen! Derp.
DeGaetano said climate change would force governments to begin rethinking infrastructure. Most of New York City’s power plants, water treatment plants, and sewage systems are right at sea level.
City planners are also going to have to help people adapt. More than half a million people live in the New York flood plain, and, as the report noted, a significant portion of them are African American and Latinos.
Oh…maybe that’s why the GOP is like the honey badger and doesn’t give a shit :/
And floods are not the only potential danger of climate change. The report notes that New York could face average annual temperature rises of up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century and by as much as 9 degrees by 2080.
In summer months, this could subject New Yorkers to power shortages and the risk of black-outs because of the extra need for air conditioning. Those without air conditioning - or who can not afford the higher electricity bills - would be at greater risk of heat stroke.
Those hotter conditions would have effects right across the state, playing havoc with New York state’s wine and agricultural industries. Spruce and Fir trees would disappear form the Catskills and West Hudson River Valley, dairy cows would suffer heat stress, and popular apple varieties would decline, the report said.
Climate change = hell and high water. Much sooner that most people expect.