What is the background for climate impacts on NYC?

There are many ways that NYC (New York City) could potentially be impacted by climate change. NYC's location on the water makes it vulnerable to flooding. Its densely built landscape increases the likelihood of heatwaves, and it is also susceptible to heavy snowfall.

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As a densely populated coastal city, New York City is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climatic changes and climate events. It is important to note just how connected NYC is to the water. In fact, only one borough, the Bronx, is located on the mainland. With several rivers, a seacoast, and multiple islands, any climatic change that affects water levels is going to have a profound impact on NYC.

Much of the city is located in areas that are susceptible to flooding. This does not just include residential and commercial areas. Its two major airports, La Guardia and JFK, are located in flood-prone areas. The multiple bridges, subway lines, and tunnels that connect various parts of the city are also vulnerable. As sea levels rise and large storms become more frequent, floods will become more common in NYC.

Aside from flooding, heat is a major concern. The many square miles of pavement, as well as the buildings, absorb a lot of heat on sunny days. This makes the potential for deadly heatwaves all the more likely.

Warmer winters may also bring about more blizzards. When warm air coming off the water meets cold air from the north, snow accumulates quickly in a weather event colloquially called a nor'easter. In January 2016, NYC received one of its biggest blizzards on record. This brought the city to a standstill as infrastructure to remove the snow was unprepared for the task.

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