New York City Assesses Extreme Heat Climate Risk

New York City Assesses Extreme Heat Climate Risk

Project Summary

Heat waves are one of the leading weather-related causes of death in the Unites States. Recognizing the current and future extreme heat risk to its population, New York City decided to assess climate risk and vulnerability. To assess the risk of future extreme heat events, the New York City Panel on Climate Change used the most up-to-date global climate models at the time. The Panel's Climate Risk Information Report identified a baseline, covering the period 1970-2000, of two heat waves per year on average. New York City projected the number of heat waves could increase, using the 90th percentile as the high estimate, to seven per year by 2050. Additionally, the Panel's 2013 report states the average annual number of days over 90°F could more than triple, under the high estimate, from 18 to 57 by 2050.

New York City updated its emergency response and hazard mitigation plans as a result of its Climate Risk Information Report. New York City is continuing to refine their climate projections to better assess climate vulnerability under the best-available science. The most recent update was in the 2015 New York City Panel on Climate Change: Building the Knowledge Base for Climate Resiliency Report, which for the first time included projections to the year 2100.

How did they do it?
Action Applicable Resources

Assessed climate risk

  • New York City derived temperature and precipitation projections by using a matrix of 35 Global Climate Model simulations under two Representative Concentration Pathways.

Incorporated climate risk within adaptation and response plans

  • Established a city panel (New York City Panel on Climate Change) to inform its climate activities.
  • Developed a Climate Adaptation Plan and updated it in 2015.
  • Incorporated climate risk and vulnerability to heat events within the Hazard Mitigation Plan. (Note: New York State (NYS) Requirement §F6 requires plans developed with State Office of Emergency Management (OEM) administered funds to include climate change hazard information and strategies to address them).

Educate residents on the threats from extreme heat and provides preparedness resources

  • New York created multiple resources including handouts, guides, and even an emergency preparedness mobile app to help residents prepare for extreme heat events

Re-assessing vulnerability under the best available science

  • The city recently updated the vulnerability assessment, which for the first time projects climate risk out to 2100, in the 2015 report “Building the Knowledge Base for Climate Resiliency.”

Similar Case Studies

Extreme heat events and other weather extremes can disproportionately impact at-risk or vulnerable communities. To view a case study that identified and then actively engaged with vulnerable communities in adaptation planning for heat events, view the case study on how Chicago is preparing for increasing temperatures.

To see how a community has used green infrastructure to both reduce the impact of future extreme heat events and reduce stormwater runoff during extreme precipitation events, view the case study on how Chicago used green infrastructure to reduce heat.