Global Warming Could Bring Hurricanes to Northeast

Dennis Faas's picture

Research suggests that global warming could have a significant impact as sea levels continue to rise.

True, it was hard to tell last month that global warming was ever a problem. However, it is having an impact, even if we haven't yet seen any 70 degree Fahrenheit January mornings. Instead, the effect could drastically change what a summer is like in New York City and the rest of the heavily-populated Northeast and it won't necessarily be limited to temperature -- it could have a direct impact on all weather in this part of the country.

Among the Most Vulnerable Regions

According to Florida State University climate modeler Jianjun Yin, there's nowhere else more immediately at risk for dramatic weather changes than New York City, Philadelphia, or Boston. "The northeast coast of the United States is among the most vulnerable regions to future changes in sea level and ocean circulation, especially when considering its population density," he said.

The issue surrounds sea levels. As glaciers melt, sea levels will continue to rise, perhaps as much as 8.3 inches, or 21 centimeters, by the year 2100. However, it won't take that long for cities in the northeast to find themselves at risk for severe flooding, especially intense thunderstorms, or even hurricanes. (Source:

Why is the Northeast So Vulnerable?

Unfortunately for those big city northerners, their region sits at a rather critical place on the map. The northeast coast is especially vulnerable to global warming because as the temperature rises the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation slows. That messes up a natural conveyer belt that brings warm upper waters to northern latitudes while returning colder waters to more southwardly regions. (Source:

Storms won't be the only problem brought by higher sea levels. Cities in the northeast could find their beaches eroded, low-lying land permanently flooded, and surrounding ecosystems destroyed or, at the very least, changed forever.

Looks like the busiest, most densely populated part of the United States had better be the first to shape up its environmental policies, because the alternative could leave the entire region all washed up.

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