, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 93-127
Date: 26 Feb 2011

Developing coastal adaptation to climate change in the New York City infrastructure-shed: process, approach, tools, and strategies

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While current rates of sea level rise and associated coastal flooding in the New York City region appear to be manageable by stakeholders responsible for communications, energy, transportation, and water infrastructure, projections for sea level rise and associated flooding in the future, especially those associated with rapid icemelt of the Greenland and West Antarctic Icesheets, may be outside the range of current capacity because extreme events might cause flooding beyond today’s planning and preparedness regimes. This paper describes the comprehensive process, approach, and tools for adaptation developed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) in conjunction with the region’s stakeholders who manage its critical infrastructure, much of which lies near the coast. It presents the adaptation framework and the sea-level rise and storm projections related to coastal risks developed through the stakeholder process. Climate change adaptation planning in New York City is characterized by a multi-jurisdictional stakeholder–scientist process, state-of-the-art scientific projections and mapping, and development of adaptation strategies based on a risk-management approach.

Some material in this article has been previously published in Climate Change and A Global City (Rosenzweig and Solecki 2001), Climate Risk Information (Horton and Rosenzweig 2010), and Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk-Management Response (NPCC 2010). We acknowledge the contributions made by the Boston Consulting Group in the formulation of the adaptation process and tools described herein.