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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

New York City Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report, Chapter 1: Climate Observations and Projections


Radley Horton

Daniel Bader

Yochanan Kushnir

Christopher Little

Reginald Blake

Cynthia Rosenzweig

+1 more
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Secondary Title:
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences


Because of incomplete knowledge about exactly how much climate change will occur, choosing among policies for reducing future damages requires prudent risk management (Yohe and Leichenko, 2010; Kunreuther et al., 2013). Given differing risk tolerances among stakeholders, a risk management approach allows for a range of possible climate change outcomes to be examined with associated uncertainties surrounding their likelihoods. The New York City Panel on Climate Change 2 (NPCC2) projections can be used to inform planning across multiple governmental scales (e.g., city, county, state) in the New York metropolitan region. Such coordinated efforts can serve as test cases for successful local, state, and federal coordination for integrated climate adaptation initiatives. This chapter describes the global climate system, and presents observed temperature and precipitation trends and projections for the region. Chapter 2 (NPCC, 2015) focuses on sea level rise and possible changes in coastal storms. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 (NPCC, 2015) describe efforts to better understand the region's vulnerability to coastal flooding during coastal storms. The treatment of likelihood related to the NPCC projections is similar to that developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports (IPCC, 2007; 2013), with six likelihood categories (Box 1.1 and Fig. 1.1). The assignment of climate hazards to these categories is based on observed data, global climate model simulations, published literature, and expert judgment.