According to the third National Climate Assessment, the Northeast United States will likely experience new and growing challenges due to climate change, affecting many aspects of life in the region. The Northeast is particularly susceptible to heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise changes, which will have increasingly detrimental effects on public health, critical infrastructure, marine fisheries, and coastal communities in the region. The horticultural community specifically, may be faced with prolonged dry periods, followed by short-duration, but intense precipitation, which can lead to increased erosion. Also, warmer temperatures have already led to shifts in growing season, types of plants seen, and invasive pests and plant species.

Not only did temperatures rise in the Northeast by almost 2°F between 1895 and 2011, but precipitation also increased by over 10 percent in the region during that period. Extreme precipitation has also increased in the Northeast and at a greater rate than in any other region of the United States. Between 1958 and 2010, precipitation falling in very heavy events increased by more than 70 percent in the Northeast.

Additionally, North Atlantic hurricanes are becoming more intense, more frequent, and are lasting longer, posing a potentially devastating threat to the Northeast as was seen during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Understanding the increasing risk climate change poses to the area as well as how that risk will change in the future will allow the Northeast to dramatically improve its resilience to both the impacts from hurricanes and those from other extreme weather events.

More information on climate change impacts in the region is available in the National Climate Assessment’s Northeast chapter.

NOAA’s Regional Resources

NOAA has a wide range of resources that can help public gardens in the Northeast respond to and mitigate the effects of climate change in the region.

Eastern Regional Climate Services Director 

NOAA’s Eastern Regional Climate Services Director helps provide the data, tools, and information needed to reduce risk and improve resiliency to the impacts of climate variability and change in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Northeast Regional Climate Center

The Northeast Regional Climate Center works closely with NOAA to provide Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia with the most accurate, up-to-date climate data and information.

Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program

NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program supports research teams that conduct interdisciplinary and regionally relevant research to inform resource management, planning, and public policy in various regions across the United States.

American Association of State Climatologists

The American Association of State Climatologists is a professional scientific organization that provides climate services for 47 states across the nation through integration of data quality control, communication among sectors, and coordinated referral of customer inquiries. Northeast Region Decision Support Resources provides a variety of peer-reviewed resources for managing climate-related risks and opportunities in various regions across the United States. The resources include reports, fact sheets, decision support tools, and data products.

National Weather Service Eastern Region Headquarters

The National Weather Service Eastern Region manages operational and scientific meteorological, hydrologic, and oceanographic programs in the region, including observing networks, weather services, forecasting, and climatology and hydrology, to provide the most effective weather and warning services possible.