Fourth Annual Long Island Natural History Conference















Long Island’s Climate: Past, Present, and Future

David Black, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University 

Long Island’s natural habitats are facing a variety of challenges from climate change that is projected to continue well into the future.  Understanding the role of anthropogenic versus natural climate variability is hampered by the limited length of the modern instrumental record for factors such as sea level rise, temperature, and precipitation. This talk will present available paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate data for our region to provide context for modern and future climate change, and projections for temperature, sea level, and precipitation change over the next century. Annual average temperatures for our region are expected to increase by 1 °C within the next fifteen years relative to the late-20th century, and by 2-4 °C by the end of this century. Sea level is projected to increase by 1 m over the same time period, which will drastically impact south shore environments as well as causing increased coastal erosion on the north shore of Long Island. Storm surge potential will also be increased as evidenced by the impact of Sandy in 2012 in combination with the mere 0.2 m rise in sea level experienced over the 20th century. Precipitation is projected to increase across our region, potentially creating infrastructure issues, but also creating associated effects of increased run-off into the waters surrounding Long Island.

David Black is an associate professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.  Dr. Black’s research revolves around subdecadal- to centennial scale paleoclimate reconstructions to create baselines against which modern and future climate change can be assessed.  Some of his recent projects include understanding the forcing mechanisms and climate response of circum-Caribbean precipitation using cave- and marine sediment-derived records, and high-resolution sea surface temperature reconstructions for the tropical Atlantic. Email: