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Northeast Climate Change

Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusettes and Rhode Island.

Information from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, June, 2009

Changing climate, economy and way of life

The Northeast climate region includes: West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and Maine. The annual average temperature of this region has increased by 2 Fahrenheit since 1970, with winter temperatures rising by 4 Fahrenheit. This warming has produced other climate changes which include: a longer growing season, more very hot days, more heavy rain storms, less winter snow but more winter rain, less winter ice on lakes and rivers, reduced snow pack, earlier spring snowmelt, rising sea surface temperatures and rising sea level.

All of these changes are expected to continue and intensify. Most of them have an adverse impact on region's economy, environment, way of life and quality of life.

$2.3 Trillion of NY Coastal Property At Risk
Luxary home in danger
Severe flooding due to sea-level rise and heavy downpours is likely to occur more frequently. The densely populated coasts of the Northeast face substantial increases in the extent and frequency of storm surge, coastal flooding, erosion, property damage, and loss of wetlands. New York state alone has more than $2.3 trillion in insured coastal property. Much of this coastline is exceptionally vulnerable to sea-level rise and related impacts. Photo copyright by iStockPhoto / Mariad Design.

Winter & Ice Sports Revenue Lost
Ski lift
The projected reduction in snow cover will adversely affect winter recreation and the industries that rely upon it. The length of the winter snow season would be cut in half across northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and reduced to just a week or two in southern parts of the region by late this century under a higher emissions scenario. Winter snow and ice sports, which contribute $7.6 billion annually to the region's economy, will be particularly affected by warming. Photo copyright by iStockPhoto / J. Tyler.

Many More Days Over 100 Degrees
Extreme heat and declining air quality are likely to pose increasing problems for human health, especially in urban areas. By late this century under higher emissions scenarios, hot summer conditions would arrive three weeks earlier and last three weeks longer into fall. Cities that currently experience just a few days above 100F each summer would average 20 such days per summer. Cities like Hartford and Philadelphia would average nearly 30 days over 100F per summer. In addition, cities that now experience air quality problems would see those problems worsen with rising temperatures, if no additional controls were placed on ozone-causing pollutants. Photo copyright by iStockPhoto / B. Hillyard.

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Map of the Northeast US
Climate change will have a number of severe impacts on the northeastern states of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusettes and Rhode Island. This page illustrates a number of the more significant impacts. Map by and MapResources..

Cod and Lobster Fisheries Diminished
The center of lobster fisheries is projected to continue its northward shift and the cod fishery on Georges Bank is likely to be diminished. Lobster catches in the southern part of the region have declined dramatically in the past decade, associated with a temperature-sensitive bacterial shell disease. Analyses also suggest that lobster survival and settlement in northern regions of the Gulf of Maine could increase under warmer conditions. Cod populations, also subject to overfishing and other stresses, are likely to be adversely affected as temperatures continue to rise. Photo copyright by iStockPhoto / B. Thomas.

Impacts on Dairy, Fruit, Syrup and Fall Foliage
Maple leaf
Agricultural production, including dairy, fruit, and maple syrup, are likely to be adversely affected as favorable climates shift. Large portions of the Northeast are likely to become unsuitable for growing popular varieties of apples, blueberries, and cranberries under higher emissions scenarios. The climate conditions suitable for maple/beech/birch forests are projected to shift dramatically northward, eventually leaving only a small portion of the Northeast with a maple sugar business and the colorful fall foliage that is part of the region's iconic character. Photo copyright by iStockPhoto / Lubilub.

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