As the effects of climate change become more and more a part of our daily lives, the forecast for the future of New York predicts some major changes. A new report by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority shows that New York City has already experienced global warming effects at twice the global average. The report also details an expected rise in sea levels, as well as an increase in temperatures in the region. In a city like ours, systems such as the subways, and the other intricate underground workings below Manhattan, could be at risk.
Although the report covers all of New York State, New York City is most at risk with the highest population density and energy demands, and for the sheer fact that much of Manhattan is at sea level. Temperatures have already risen 2.4 degrees Farhenheit in the last 40 years, but the report anticipates a rise of 3-5 degrees F by 2050 and up to 7.5 degrees by 2080. Aside from uncomfortable heat waves, this is also a stress on our energy system, causing more New Yorkers to blast their air conditioners, and thus demanding more energy.
The sea level has risen about a foot over the last hundred years–and will continue to rise from 8-23 inches by 2080, possibly double that if Arctic ice melts at a higher rate. This could mean storm surge increase, flooding of lower Manhattan, erosion, and wetland loss in the area. Subways and residential areas near the rivers, like Battery Park, will also be at an extreme risk. The increase water also poses water supply and wastewater treatment challenges, creating more need for both.
Lead image © Eguchi Shintaro via Creative Commons