At first you might not think there are many connections between what takes place thousands of miles away in the Arctic and what takes place in New York Harbor. In fact, the connections are countless.
Many of the migrating shorebirds we see at local beaches, including at Sandy Hook, Breezy Point, Conaskonk Point, and Jamaica Bay, in the springtime are travelling thousands of miles from the tropics to breed and raise a family in the Arctic. Some of the seals we see in the winter, including Harp seals, breed and raise young on Arctic ice. Much of the waterfowl we observe in the wintertime in New York Harbor, including Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, scoters, and Snow Geese, spend summers in the Arctic to nest. Snowy owls as well will arrive from the Arctic to areas around New York Harbor to spend the winter from time to time. These are just some of the plentiful examples between the New York Harbor and Arctic biodiversity connection.
The most obvious connection is the weather. What takes place in the Arctic can influence weather and climate around the world, particularly in the northern Hemisphere including the New York metropolitan region. A weather system that forms in the Arctic can move south to bring cold temperatures (a cold front) and snow. Warmer conditions in the Arctic can cause changes in land ice and an increase in sea levels to New York Harbor.
As the Arctic transforms and becomes warmer due to climate change so do these connections. A February 2015 report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change predicted that in the next 50 to 100 years average temperatures could jump nearly 9 degrees, rainfall could increase 13% and sea levels would increase by over two feet, meaning the daily high tides in places like Queens would cause daily flooding.
Climate change is real. While there are still a few irresponsible people who say they do not “believe” in global warming, the facts tell a different story. Global Warming is not something you believe in. Science is not religion or vice-versa. Someone that wishes to know more about global warming should read the scientific literature from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). You either agree or disagree with the findings. If you disagree then state why and backup your ideas with well-defined facts, not opinions.
Everything I have read and experienced, there is no doubt our weather around New York Harbor is becoming more extreme, our sea level is increasing, and biodiversity is changing. All due to man-made climate change and the influence it’s having on the Arctic environment.