Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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What climate change could mean for CNY

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: What climate change could mean for CNY
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The flood waters that overtook parts of the Mohawk Valley and CNY last year might not have been isolated weather events. They may be examples of human-induced climate change at work.

"No single rainfall event can be ascribed to climate change, but when we see a pattern of increasing torrential downpours, we can draw some general conclusions about that," said Neil Murphy, a senior fellow of environmental and sustainable systems and SUNY-ESF.

The National Climate Assessment released Tuesday shows the northeast region saw a 71 percent increase in heavy precipitation events from 1958 to 2012, and Murphy says climate models show for Upstate New York, change could actually mean more of what the region is used to.

"The Great Lakes, over the last decade, have warmed up," Murphy said. "With warmer waters in the Great Lakes, we're going to see more lake effect snow to the lee of the Great Lakes."

While Murphy expects overall farming in this state won't be severely affected, warmer temperatures have caused maple syrup production to begin and end earlier in recent years, and he says all infrastructure will likely have to adapt to changing conditions.

Murphy says many of the efforts aimed at fighting climate change are started at the grassroots level and that includes here in Central New York.

"You have, for example, Onondaga County that has the Save the Rain program using green infrastructure that also has the ability to reduce the heat island effect in the city," said Murphy.

Billions of dollars of damage to property and crops is possible as effects become more pronounced -- just one reason those programs may become more important in years to come.

To read the full report, visit: nca2014.globalchange.gov

You can also read more about what the City of Syracuse is doing to adapt its infrastructure needs to expected climate change below:

Climate Change Strategies

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