Brewster, NY
Image by Kate Everitt

Brewster, NY

Climate Change

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges faced by our generation, and Cornell researchers are involved with many aspects of addressing this challenge regionally and globally. In addition to climate scientists who document climate change trends and develop models to project the future, others at Cornell are working on ways to build resilience to climate change in our communities, farms, and natural landscapes. Cornell engineers are working on energy solutions to slow the pace of climate change, while those in the social sciences and humanities provide perspective on the economic issues and human impacts that inform policy decisions.

Climate change here in Putnam County will mean rising temperatures, changes in the rates of precipitation, flooding, changes in the way we garden and plan landscapes.  Our educators are helping home gardeners, landowners, municipalities, farmers, teachers, professional landscapers and others understand and adapt to climate change and its effects.  Want to know more about how climate change is affecting us here in Putnam County?  Start here: "When flooding hits home ... who can you call?"

The Greenhouse Effect

Much like the glass of a greenhouse, the Earth's atmosphere keeps heat contained to a level that allows life to flourish. The atmosphere consists of water vapor, nitrogen, oxygen, and trace gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. The general warming of the planet is being caused by an increase in these trace gases, often called 'greenhouse gases', which then trap increasing amounts of heat. Less of the infrared heat that is emitted by the Earth is able to pass through the atmosphere when these gases are increased, and instead reflect back, warming the Earth's surface more than usual.

White House Iniative on Global Climate Change

Greenhouse gases are emitted during the burning of fossil fuels (like coal, oil and natural gas). The Environmental Protection Agency has new interactive map showing the facilities that emit a large amount of greenhouse gases.

The Fourth Assessment Report of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


The changing climate is interfering with natural cycles, causing extreme weather events, raising sea levels1 as glaciers and ice caps melt, and threatening many species with extinction as their environment changes and the oceans become increasingly acidic.

Check out this interactive coastal vulnerability map from the White House website.


1. Hausfather, Zeke. The Global Climate in Context- 2013 in Review. The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. 3 Feb. 2014.


Jennifer Lerner
Resource Educator, Environmental Horticulture and Natural Resource

Last updated January 5, 2017