Nichi.11 12-13.nasa.cynthia rosenzweig
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Nichi.11 12-13.nasa.cynthia rosenzweig



Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Senior Research Scientist, Earth Institute at Columbia University
Co-Chair Mayor Bloomberg’s Climate ...

Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Senior Research Scientist, Earth Institute at Columbia University
Co-Chair Mayor Bloomberg’s Climate Change Commission
Co-Director Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN); National Institute for Coastal & Harbor Infrastructure, John F. Kennedy Center, Boston, Nov. 12, 2013: "The Triple Threat of Rising Sea Levels, Extreme Storms and Aging Infrastructure: Coastal Community Responses and The Federal Role" See or



Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



2 Embeds 59 41 18



Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Nichi.11 12-13.nasa.cynthia rosenzweig Nichi.11 12-13.nasa.cynthia rosenzweig Presentation Transcript

  • Key Climate Challenges for Coastal Zones Lessons from New York City and Hurricane Sandy Cynthia Rosenzweig NASA GISS/ Columbia University National Institute for Coastal and Harbor Infrastructure Symposium Boston, Massachusetts November 12, 2013 1
  • Outline • Climate Change Challenges in Coastal Zones • New York City Adaptation Process • Responding to Hurricane Sandy • Sandy as Tipping Point 2
  • Coastal Zones Key Findings from Draft National Climate Assessment • Coastal zones are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, and other climate-related changes. • Climate change increases exposure of important assets, such as ports, tourism and fishing sites, in already-vulnerable coastal locations, threatening to disrupt economic activity beyond the coast and incurring significant costs for protecting or moving them. • Socioeconomic disparities create uneven exposures and sensitivities to coastal risks and limit adaptation options for some coastal communities, resulting in the displacement of the most vulnerable from coastal areas. From 2013 National Climate Assessment, Draft Chapter 25, USGCRP, 2013v Challenges of Multiple Jurisdictions From 2013 National Climate Assessment, Draft Chapter 25, USGCRP, 2013v 3
  • Coastal Zones Key Climate Impacts in the Northeast High water levels, strong winds, and heavy precipitation from coastal storms already impact coastal areas. Warming ocean waters raise sea level through thermal expansion which will result in more frequent and extensive coastal flooding and stronger coastal storms. • Barrier islands are being significantly altered due to erosion, overwash and new inlets created by strong coastal storms • Sea level rise will increase the risks to populations in low-lying coastal areas and will lead to permanent inundation of low-lying areas, more frequent storm surge flooding and increased beach erosion • Loss of coastal wetlands and salt marshes will reduce species diversity ClimAID, 2011 4 ClimAID, 2011
  • New York City Adaptation Process Mayor Leadership Implementation City Agencies - Regional Authorities City-wide Sustainability Office OLTPS - Private Stakeholders Coordination University scholars and private sector experts E Stakeholder Task Force CCATF T Expert Panel NPCC - Social, biological, and physical scientists P Integration across C - Legal and insurance experts - Risk management professionals W W Sector-specific Working Groups - Energy (E) - Transportation (T) - Policy (P) - Water & Waste (WW) Climate Science - Communications (C) Source: NPCC, 2010 5
  • First New York City Panel on Climate Change Mayor Bloomberg convened the First New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC1) in 2008. The NPCC – leading climate and social scientists and risk management experts – worked to identify future climate risks facing New York City • In 2009, the Panel produced a set of climate projections specific to New York City region • Full report published by New York Academy of Sciences in 2010 • New York City Codified NPCC in August 2012 legislation, requiring regular climate science updates 6
  • Flexible Adaptation Pathways Climate change adaptation as a risk management issue Flexible Adaptation Pathways as the response Source: NPCC, 2010 7
  • Steps – Assess and Implement 1. Identify current and future climate hazards 2. Conduct inventory of infrastructure and assets and begin to identify vulnerabilities 3. Characterize risk 4. Develop initial list of strategies 5. Identify opportunities for coordination 6. Prioritize strategies 7. Prepare and implement Resilience Plans 8. Monitor and reassess NPCC, 2010 8
  • Framing Adaptation • Reduce the level of physical, social, and economic impacts of climate • Take advantage of new opportunities Types • Management/operations • Infrastructure – physical components of each sector • Policy Administrative Groups • Private vs. public organizations • Local/municipal, county, state, national ClimAID, 2011 Level of Efforts • Incremental action • Large-scale shifts Timing • Short term <5 yrs; medium term 5-15 yrs; long term >15 years • Abrupt Changes - tipping points/policy triggers 9
  • Pre-Hurricane Sandy Adaptation Actions • Actions already underway in New York City to mitigate the impacts of climate risks – Planting over 300 Greenstreets, vegetation that absorbs stormwater – Securing citywide high-resolution LiDAR elevation data, which helps to identify the most vulnerable area – Incorporating sea level rise into the City's Comprehensive Waterfront Plan – NYC Office of Emergency Management launched enhanced emergency response and preparedness programs • Post Sandy intensifying efforts NPCC, 2013 10
  • Hurricane Sandy • Storm timing coincided almost exactly with astronomically high, high tide • Tropical-storm-force winds extended 1,000 miles from end to end, making it more than three times the size of Hurricane Katrina • Storm surge combined with high tide created a “storm tide” of over 14 feet above Mean Lower Low Water at the Battery • Unusual storm track, Sandy turned sharply west just as it was reaching another peak of intensity SIRR, 2013 CCSR, 2013 Storm Forecast Well In Advance 11
  • Hurricane Sandy Links to Climate Change Science Sea level rise at Battery, NYC 1900-2009, NPCC • It is not possible to attribute any single extreme event such as Hurricane Sandy to climate change • Sea level rise already occurring in the New York City area (~1.1 feet since 1900), in part related to climate change, increased the extent and magnitude of coastal flooding during the storm North Atlantic SSTs and Hurricane Power Dissipation Index 1950-2005, Emanuel • Intensity of severe hurricanes appears to be on rise and may increase in future*** • Melting sea-ice may be changing pattern of jet stream, making westward-turning storm tracks more likely*** ***Areas of active research Sources: CCSR, 2013 Median Minimum Sea Ice Extent 1979-2009 12
  • Hurricane Sandy Immediate Preparations LIPA New York City issued mandatory evacuation of Zone A on October 28, 2012 Out-of-state utility crews brought in before the storm Evacuation – Not complete 43 people died in NYC 80% from drowning Utilities – Not prepared 4 million without power in the tri-state region MTA/DOT – Major flooding 7 subway lines under East River, 3 tunnels closed MTA closed down operations, moved rolling stock, and boarded and placed sandbags at subway entrances to protect against flooding SIRR, 2013 MTA 13
  • Climate Change and a Global City 2001 The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change Metro East Coast (MEC) July 2001 Hurricane Sandy Forecasting the Impacts South Ferry Subway Station Interdependent Critical Infrastructure Systems and Vulnerable Communities Beach erosion and boardwalk damage in the Rockaways Spencer Platt Getty Images Extensive power outages Hard-hit areas Sources: CCSR, 2013, MTA, 2012 Many impacts forecast well in advance 14
  • Hurricane Sandy Unforeseen Impacts • Hospital Evacuations – Flooding and power outages forced the evacuation of 6,500 people from nursing homes and hospitals • Gas Shortages – Severe breakdowns in the supply chain serving New York caused by storm damage to coastal infrastructure led to fuel shortages that lasted weeks • Fires – Over 100 homes and businesses were destroyed by fire, often electrical in nature, sparked by the interaction of electricity and seawater. Narrowly flooded streets hampered emergency response. SIRR, 2013 15
  • Second New York City Panel on Climate Change After Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bloomberg re-convened the NPCC in January to provide updated climate risk information for the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) • The 2013 NPCC Climate Risk Information Report (CRI) provides new climate change projections and future coastal flood risk maps for New York City • Both “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” and CRI reports released on June 11, 2013 16
  • Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast • CCRUN conducts stakeholder-driven research that reduces climate-related vulnerability and advances opportunities for adaptation in the urban Northeast • CCRUN scientists lead the technical team that developed the projections for the NPCC2 report 17
  • Key Findings for Future Projected Changes Recently released (June 2013) climate change projections… • Illustrate a broad-based acceleration of climate change in coming decades • Show significant climate risks for New York City, especially heat waves, extreme precipitation events, and coastal flooding • Valid for New York City and the metropolitan region • By 2050s, projected changes include – – – – Annual temperature increase up to 6.5 F Mean precipitation change between +5 and +10 percent Sea level rise up to 31 inches 1-in-100 year flood may occur approximately 5 times more often with the high-estimate for sea level rise – More likely than not increase in the number of the most intense hurricanes in the North Atlantic Basin. – Unknown how the total number of tropical cyclones will change in the North Atlantic Basin NPCC, 2013 18
  • NYC SIRR Key Findings for Coastal Protection • Increase coastal edge elevations – The City will increase the height of vulnerable coastal edges with bulkheads, beach nourishment and other measures over time • Minimize upland wave zones – The City will work to provide significant attenuation of waves—that is, to knock down waves, or diminish their velocity—both off and onshore, before they reach neighborhoods • Protect against storm surge – The City will use flood protection structures, such as floodwalls, levees, and local storm surge barriers built, where possible, to the 100-year flood elevation with an additional allowance for future sea level rise • Improve coastal design – The City will study how natural areas and open space can be used to protect adjacent neighborhoods and maintain neighborhood quality of life, and will work to manage its own waterfront assets more effectively • Governance – Developing partnerships to improve permitting and study innovative coastal protections. SIRR, 2013 19
  • NYC SIRR Key Findings for Insurance • Strategy: Target affordability solutions to low-income policyholders – • Strategy: Define resiliency standards for existing buildings – • Measures that reduce a property’s risk of damage should be reflected in a commensurate reduction in the cost of insurance Strategy: Expand pricing options for policyholders – • Sandy highlighted the limited information currently available on riskreduction techniques short of elevation, which is impractical, financially infeasible or physically impossible for building types common in New York City and other dense urban areas. Strategy: Incorporate resiliency standards in insurance underwriting – • The combined impact of Biggert-Waters and the remapping of New York City’s floodplain will result in significant increases in flood insurance premiums, which many New Yorkers, especially the city’s most vulnerable populations—including those with low, or on fixed, incomes—will not be able to afford. Flexible pricing options can encourage more people, especially those not required to carry insurance, to purchase coverage that suits their needs. Strategy: Improve awareness and education about insurance – SIRR, 2013 Consumers must be aware of both their risks and the coverage their insurance policies include or exclude. 20
  • Hurricane Sandy as Tipping Point • Leadership in responding to climate change • Municipal, state, and federal alignment • Climate science in place and in time Need for federal coordination that recognizes local and state initiatives 21
  • References and Links • Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast ( • NYSERDA ClimAID ( • New York City Panel on Climate Change report available online at ( • Urban Climate Change Research Network ( • ClimateYou ( – “Learn, Share, Act” about climate change NPCC 22