The town of New Hartford climate task force held a presentation on local data collected about climate change in our area. The study was conducted by three students from Hamilton College and assistant Professor, Dr. Aaron Strong.
Back in 2018 the task force was created through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This New York state program helps communities prepare for climate change. Their committee asked Dr. Strong to conduct a climate change risk assessment to examine local environmental threats.
“What I’ve done with my students is a risk assessment, a climate change risk assessment for the town of New Hartford. And what we’ve done is we’ve assessed how bad is climate change going to be right here. We used down-scaled climate models, that sounds really fancy. What it is means is we basically look at a little box right around New Hartford and we say what do we know about how much rain is going to happen in future climate? How warm is it going to get in the summers? How warm is it going to get in the winters in the future climate?” – Dr. Aaron Strong, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Hamilton College
The group studied a series of climate models over the last several decades and used the most accurate ones to predict how the enviroment will change in the future. Dr. Strong says our area will dramatically change if we don’t take action.
“If we don’t do anything about climate change by the end of this century our summers are going to look like those in Georgia and Florida. We’re going to have two months of days about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Right here what we know is it’s going to get warmer and wetter. So we have to adapt to a warmer and wetter world with bigger, heavy precipitation events and also with warmer hot days in the summer. Now we are also going to have milder winters and that means more freeze thaw cycles.” – Dr. Aaron Strong, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Hamilton College
Those freeze thaw cycles can cause serious flooding, much like the storm we saw on Halloween. Their findings suggest we’re entering a new normal and that we must change the way we produce electricity and adapt to our new environment.
“We can build in smarter ways, we can focus on where that flooding occur and we can try to invest it mitigating that flooding and actually building infrastructure to address the flooding.” – Dr. Aaron Strong, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Hamilton College.
It’s a work in process and the only way to combat the affects of climate change is to inform the public and cater to their concerns. The goal is to create a report that’s actually a usable and useful document to the government of New Hartford but also to the people that live here. The final report will be complete by the end of this year.