The following summary of climate change effects is taken from the Climate Smart Resiliency Planning Evaluation Tool for New York State Communities, developed by the New York State Climate Smart Communities program.

Observed Effects of Climate Change
NYSERDA released a report in 2011, updated in 2014 that discussed projected effects of climate change over the next 100 years. ClimAID: the Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State examines the effect of climate change on water resources, coastal zone, ecosystems, agriculture, energy, transportation, telecommunications, and public health.  ClimAID noted the following: 

  • Annual average temperatures have risen about 2.4 °F since 1970, with winter warming exceeding 4.4 °F.
  • Sea level along New York's coastline has risen about a foot since 1900.
  • Intense precipitation and heavy downpours have increased in recent decades.

Projected Climate Changes
The report describes the following potential effects of climate change:

  • Natural resources (ecosystems, agriculture and water resources)
    • Increased flooding affecting ecosystems, communities, and infrastructure.
    • Lowered groundwater.
    • Negative effects on native aquatic species due to increased water temperatures.
    • Widespread shifts in species composition in the state’s forests and expansion of some invasive species.
    • Lost agricultural productivity from temperature stresses, summer drought, and invasive species.
  • Coastal zone
    • Sea level rise, leading to permanent inundation of low-lying areas, increased beach erosion, reduction of coastal wetland area and species, and flood events that are more frequent and more destructive.
  • Infrastructure (energy, transportation, telecommunications)
    • Disruption of water, transportation, communication, and energy systems due to extreme weather.
  • Public health
    • Expansion of vector-borne diseases affecting humans, livestock, and wildlife.
    • Heat waves leading to increased illness and deaths from heat stress.
    • Increased levels of air pollution, causing asthma and other respiratory illness

National Flood Insurance Program and Community Rating System

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (learn more)
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is designed to help reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures by providing affordable insurance for property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.

The Community Rating System (CRS) (learn more)
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program to encourage floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP standards. Under the CRS, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reward community actions that meet the three goals of the CRS, which are: (1) reduce flood damage to insurable property; (2) strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; and (3) encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

Adaptation Funding
The New York Rising Community Reconstruction program (NYRCR) provides rebuilding and revitalization assistance to communities severely damaged by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides for long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. Municipalities that have completed a Hazard Mitigation Plan are eligible