Climate Change Turns Up Heat on NYC's Future

Hurricane Sandy Brooklyn
A striking image of Verrazano Bridge in Brooklyn as Hurricane Sandy approaches on Oct. 29, 2012. (Image credit: <a href="">Carlos Ayala</a>)

In the wake of the terrible toll wrought by Hurricane Sandy's lashing floodwaters, New York City has been taking a closer look at just what potential pitfalls it faces in a warming world. Yesterday (June 10), Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration issued data on how sea level rise and weather might threaten the metropolis over the next few decades, The New York Times reported.

The data, compiled by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, projects that sea levels around the city will rise 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) by the 2020s, up from the 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 cm) it projected in a 2009 report. This rise in the waters surrounding the city is a key factor in evaluating the flood risks faced by millions of New Yorkers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued new maps of flood-prone areas, which will raise flood insurance costs for many, the Times notes.

The new panel data also hints at the warmer weather that could increasingly affect the city. Between 1971 and 2000, the city saw an average of 19 days a year with temperatures topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). By the 2020s, city dwellers could be sweltering for up to 33 days a year, and by the 2050s, for up to 57 days, the panel reported.

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Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.