Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mayor Bloomberg Report on Climate Change Impact on Us (NYC)

MAYOR BLOOMBERG RELEASES NEW YORK CITY PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT THAT PREDICTS HIGHER TEMPERATURES AND RISING SEA LEVELS FOR NEW YORK CITY. We don't usually ever report doom and gloom, but as this is NYC-specific and important, well, here:

Mayor Bloomberg released today New York City-specific climate change projections developed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) that show climate change poses real and significant risks to New York City. According to the report of the panel, which consists of leading climate change scientists, academics, and private sector practitioners convened by the Mayor and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, 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 – over the course of the century. The report will be used to inform the actions of the City's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, which was appointed last summer and is made up of City, State, and Federal agencies, regional public authorities and private companies that control critical infrastructure in New York City. "The climate change projections developed by our expert panel put numbers to what we already know – climate change is real and could have serious consequences for New York if we don't take action," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The projections developed by the NPCC will be used by our Adaptation Task Force to create a plan to protect the City's critical infrastructure and will inform other City efforts to adapt to climate change. Planning for climate change today is less expensive than rebuilding an entire network after a catastrophe. We cannot wait until after our infrastructure has been compromised to begin to plan for the effects of climate change now."

"Using global climate models and local information, the New York City Panel on Climate Change projects that by the end of the century New York City's mean annual temperatures projected to increase by 4 to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Annual precipitation is also projected to increase by 5 to 10 percent, and sea levels to rise by 12 to 23 inches. Recent evidence, however, including accelerated ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica, suggests that sea levels could rise at a faster rate than projected by the existing models – potentially to 41 to 55 inches by the end of the century. While this "rapid ice-melt" scenario does not have the same level of confidence associated with it as those developed by the global climate models, the NPCC included it in their projections given the large impact it would have on the City should it occur. The report also projects that extreme events – such as heat waves, short periods of intense rain, droughts, and coastal flooding – are likely to become more frequent and more intense. In contrast, cold day events, where the temperature drops below freezing, will decrease in frequency. By the end of the century, New York City could experience: Approximately 2.5 to 4.5 times more days per year over 90 degrees than experienced on average from 1971-2000; Approximately 2.5 to 4 times more heat waves (as defined as three consecutive days over 90 degrees) a year than experienced on average from 1971-2000; More frequent, intense rainstorms; A current 1-in-10 year coastal flood about once every 1 to 3 years; and A current 1-in-100 year coastal flood about once every 15 to 35 years. The New York City Panel on Climate Change is modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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