N.Y. Task Force to Take Climate Predictions to Heart

New York City will face higher temperatures and more rapidly rising sea levels, as well as more frequent and intense extreme weather events – like heat waves, heavy rainstorms, and coastal flooding – due to climate changes over the course of the century, according to a report from the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC).

The report will be used to inform the actions of the city's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, which is made up of city, state, and federal agencies, regional public authorities, and private companies that control critical infrastructure in New York City, a Feb. 17 press release from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said.

The report was released at the Department of Environmental Protection's Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is raising electrical equipment, such as pump motors, circuit breakers, and controls, to higher elevations.

"There is a growing recognition of the need for adaptation to climate change in urban areas, and this initiative of Mayor Bloomberg's puts New York City in the forefront of this global effort." said Cynthia Rosenzweig, Ph.D., of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies/ Columbia University Earth Institute and co-chair of the NPCC.

Using global climate models and local information, the panel projects that, by the end of the century, the city's mean annual temperatures will increase by 4 to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual precipitation is projected to increase by 5 to 10 percent, and sea levels to rise by 12 to 23 inches. The NPCC was charged with developing climate change projections for the city and tools to assist the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The first of these tools, the Climate Risk Information Workbook, was released on Feb. 17.