NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York has seen record snow and record heat in 2011, and in a new climate report, scientists from across the state are making projections of the effects climate in future years will have.
“Lets start thinking about what would it be like if there are more Irenes and let’s respond to that, and that’s the focus of this climate report,” said scientist Daniel Bader of Columbia University.
The numbers predict the Big Apple’s weather is changing and will continue to change. By the next decade, average temperatures will be one degree warmer and sea level will definitely rise. The question is how much? It could be as little as an inch or as much as a foot.
Either way, it makes a difference.
“Higher temperatures, more frequent heat waves, may be an impact that we start seeing,” Bader told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock.
Heavy downpours are predicted to occur with greater frequency, which means more flooding and greater risk for storm surge. So while there was some surge with Irene, add a foot or more to that.
One of the things that is most vulnerable is the transportation infrastructure. We’ve already seen flooding close tunnels during Irene and snow bring railways to a stop. The way we get around is also heavily dependent on our energy systems, which take a big hit when the mercury rises.
“The frequency of heat waves does increase with warmer temperatures. The transportation system also is going to be affected,” Bader said. “The materials that are used. Rail buckling for example, or roadway buckling.”
This scientist says in the immediate future we should be most concerned with increasing temperatures. Not only because of the hit our transportation infrastructure may take, but because heat-related deaths would increase and air quality would decrease.
The report also details how how agriculture and wildlife would be affected.
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