Climate Adaptation Planning in New York City

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1 Climate Adaptation Planning in New York City University of Helsinki November26, 2014 David C. Major, Ph.D. Climate Change and a Global City: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change (2001) Mayor s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability (2013) Goddard Institute for Space Studies New York, NY

2 Outline of Presentaton Part 1: NYC Background Part 2: Science and Planning Part 3: Hurricane Sandy Part 4: Summary 12/5/ Source: NPCC, 2010

3 Part 1: New York City Background 12/5/ Source: NPCC, 2010

4 New York City Introduction Science and government: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig NPCC - Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response (2010) Academic and Research Institutions: Columbia University; NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; New York University; City University of New York; and many others in planning, science and engineering 12/5/ Source: NPCC, 2010

5 New York City Facts Latitude: N; Longitude: W Helsinki: N, E Elevation: sea level to 410 ft (125 m) (Todt Hill, Staten Island) Population (July 2013 estimate) : 8.4 million Helsinki: 616,000 (2012) Average weekday daily subway ridership (2013): 5.5 million Population of Finland (2012): 5.4 million 12/5/2014 5

6 NYC Climate Impacts Sea level rise Storm surge Inland flooding Heat waves Drought and floods in upland water areas Winds 12/5/2014 6

7 Key New York City Reports 1996: The Baked Apple? Metropolitan New York in the Greenhouse. New York Academy of Sciences. 2001: Metro East Coast. Part of a U.S. national study. This report brought the problem into the view of participating NYC stakeholders 2007: MTA Storm Report. Appendix on Climate Change 2008: DEP, Climate Change Program Assessment and Action Plan Report. Climate scenarios for the city and region, an innovative City/University/Consulting panel, and an agency program. 2010: New York City Panel on Climate Change. 2013: New York City Office of the Mayor, PlaNYC: A Stronger More Resilient New York (forthcoming): NPCC updated scenarios 12/5/2014 7

8 New York City Geography Outline Map of New York City and Region 12/5/2014 8

9 Part 2: Science and Planning 12/5/ Source: NPCC, 2010

10 Adaptation Assessment Guidelines 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. Link strategies to rehabilitation and replacement cycles 7. Prepare and implement Adaptation Plans 8. Monitor and reassess 3

11 Characterize Risk: Theory Red: Risks for which adaptation strategies should be developed Orrange: Risks for which adaptation strategies may need to be developed or for which further information is needed Yellow: Risks for which impacts should be monitored but which may not need actions at this time 9

12 Characterize Risks: Practice The Interaction of Theory and Practice

13 Climate Scenario Methods Regional climate projections are based on 16 GCMs (7 GCMs for sea level) and 3 emissions scenarios (NPCC 2010) Model output for the single gridbox covering New York City is used Future changes are presented for time slices relative to the baseline period ( for sea level) Time slices are 30 year periods (10 for sea level) centered around a given decade, for example, the 2050s is Model-based probability The combination of GCMs and emissions scenarios produce 48 outputs for temperature and precipitation (21 for SLR) For each scenario time period and variable, the results constitute a model-based probability function Updated scenarios based on AR5 GCMs and emissions scenarios due late 2014 Frequency distribution of model based temperature and precipitation changes for the 2050s relative to the base period. 12/5/

14 Temperature and Precipitation 12/5/

15 High Impact Sea Level Rise Scenarios Sea level rise projections for New York City for the 2080s Two sea level rise scenarios were developed for New York City (NPCC 2010). 1) GCM model-based method used for sea level rise similar to what was done for temperature and precipitation. These projections include global and local components. 2) Rapid Ice-melt scenario was developed to account for the possibility that future changes in polar ice sheets are not captured by the GCMs and may accelerate melting beyond currently projected levels. Source: NPCC, /5/

16 NPCC Approach Climate change adaptation as a risk management issue Flexible Adaptation Pathways as the response 12/5/

17 Adaptation Decisions Decision makers are using climate scenarios developed for New York City Undertaking Sewer and Wastewater treatment study to evaluate impacts of sea level rise and storm surge Modeling impacts of climate change on New York s water supply using scenarios Moving pumps at the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant to 14 feet above sea level from 25 feet below Installing new subway gratings at street level Examining many other adaptation possibilities WPCP in Bronx, New York Ashokan Reservoir, a component of the New York City Water Supply System Raised subway grating 12/5/2014 Sources: NYC DEP, MTA 17

18 Climate Scenarios and Watershed Models

19 Damages and Cost Estimates 1 Estimates of damages from sea level rise are available for some storms and some sectors The costs of sea level rise, to the extent they can be prevented, are the benefits from adaptation measures Next two slides: damages affecting metro NY transportation for (estimated) 100-year storm with SLR of 2 and 4 feet (0.6 and 1.2 m); case study by Jacob et al., /5/

20 Red 100-y flood in 2000 (surge of ~ 8ft). S1 Yel 100-y flood in 2040s, with +2ft SLR S2 Grn 100-y flood in 2080s, with +4ft SLR S3 ClimAID Transportation Case Study

21 Increased Costs from Storm Surge with Sea Level Rise Combined economic and physical-damage Losses for the New York City Metropolitan region for a 100-year storm surge, for three sea level rise scenarios (2010 assets and 2010-dollar valuation). Scenario TIELEM ($ billion) Physical Damage ($ billion) Total Loss ($ billion) S1, current sea level $58 S2 (2-foot rise in sea level) 2040s $70 S3 (4-foot rise in sea level) 2080s $84 TIELEM = Time Integrated Economic Losses for the Entire Metropolitan Region

22 Damages and Cost Estimates 2 For regional insured property damages only: more than ½ billion US $2013/year with economic growth and SLR (1/3 due to SLR) (Major et al., 2014) First costs of six adaptation strategies ranging from building code changes to surge barriers: between $11.6 and $23.8 bn $US 2012 (Aerts et al., 2013) 12/5/

23 7 c Soft Infrastructure: Architects Ideas for New York Harbor Produce energy, moderate storm surge, reduce erosion Offshore windmills Oyster beds Artificial islands Subway car reefs Offshore piers New wetlands Piers and slips Reference: Rising Currents exhibit, Museum of Modern Art, NY

24 7 Possible Hard Infrastructure: Large Tidal Barrier, the Narrows, New York Harbor One of 3 proposed barriers Alternative is single barrier further out Environmental and other impacts not studied The question of scheduling: probably not needed in the next decades

25 Part 3: Hurricane Sandy 12/5/

26 Never waste a serious crisis (Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago) 12/5/

27 Why Hurricanes are a Threat to NYC 12/5/

28 Hurricane Sandy: Characteristics Exceptionally wide storm (largest Atlantic hurricane, winds spanning 1,100 miles (1800 km) New Jersey landfall Oct. 29, 2012 with hurricane-force gusting winds as a posttropical cyclone Blocked from typical northeastern path by a powerful winter snowstorm to the north Landfall at high tide 12/5/

29 Hurricane Sandy: Characteristics Sandy had the highest recorded storm surge at the Battery (southern tip of Manhattan): ft (4.23m) above MLLW; next highest Hurricane Donna (1960) 10.0 ft (3.05 m) US damages (preliminary) $71 Billion NY Metro region damages could reach $40- $50 Billion (preliminary) 12/5/

30 Other Damaging Storms Nor easters. These are extra-tropical cyclones (usually November-March) that can last for days and for that reason can be more damaging than hurricanes, although surges are usually lower. Named after the direction from which the wind comes. Very intense rainfall events. These can cause serious interior flooding. 12/5/

31 Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Designed before WWII, opened 1950; longest continuous underwater tunnel in North America. Out of commission for several weeks No flood gates. 12/5/

32 South Ferry Subway Station New (replacement) station opened 2009 Cost $US 545 million Thought to be at risk from the (old) 100 year flood;. Repairs to cost $US 600 million 12/5/

33 East of Hudson Rail Pre-positioning Metro North Railroad, the New York City Subway, Long Island Rail Road First-rate prepositioning of rolling stock Essentially no damage to rolling stock Result of 10 years of discussion and experience 33

34 West of Hudson: Failure New Jersey Transit placed rolling stock in a yard between two rivers flowing into Newark Bay that had not previously flooded Management failed to track publically available information on Sandy, and even input wrong direction for Sandy in flood model, resulting in much too low estimates Result: $US 100 million in damages to rolling stock New Jersey behind New York in climate adaptation analysis New plans for $500US in new yards and flood protection 12/5/

35 Arverne by the Sea Located on Rockaway Peninsula 1000 units of middle income housing Entire project area raised 5 ft, along with very large drains and other flood protections Result: essentially no damage while rest of Rockaways devastated Private activity with government encouragement/pressure 12/5/

36 Pure Luck: The Whitney Whitney Museum is now building a new home near the Hudson Originally designed on the basis of standard engineering procedures At the time of Sandy, only the basement shell finished it flooded with 26 ft (8 m) of water. If Sandy had occurred a year later, $millions of damage to art 12/5/ The current building uptown on Madison Ave.

37 The Revised Whitney design No art in the basement! Flood wall in the back of the building Temporary flood walls designed by specialist German firm for front and sides, to be placed when needed in firm footings on the site. Height is 16 ft (5 m) Lesson: update and replace engineering standards 12/5/

38 Post-Sandy: The BIG U Project The first comprehensive protection project 10-mile U shape from W. 57th Street around the Battery to E. 42nd Street Initial funding for Lower East Side from U.S. H.U.D. Sandy funds of $335 million US Total cost estimated in the billions US$ Many amenities included Final design to be determined 12/5/

39 4 Part 4: Summary 12/5/

40 Lessons from Sandy: Summary Survey all old infrastructure for retrofitting Review designs for current infrastructure proposals: no more South Ferries Encourage private sector adaptations Continue excellent management adaptations Insure good science-based decision-making in all agencies 12/5/

41 Lessons from Sandy: Summary 2 New programs include proposed buy-outs of endangered beach properties in New York Proactive planning can significantly reduce damages from future large storms 12/5/

42 The current situation in NYC Wide understanding of climate change, vulnerabilities, impacts and the need for adaptation; continuing challenges Strong city government efforts underway Many private efforts also underway Flood walls, soft infrastructure, operational changes, evacuation plans may suffice to provide reasonably successful adaptation to about 2050 In the longer term, Dutch solutions may be necessary 12/5/

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