Publication Abstracts

Jacob et al. 2007

Jacob, K., V. Gornitz, and C. Rosenzweig, 2007: Vulnerability of the New York City metropolitan area to coastal hazards, including sea-level rise: Inferences for urban coastal risk management and adaptation policies. In Managing Coastal Vulnerability. L. McFadden, R. Nicholls, and E. Penning-Rowsell, Eds. Elsevier, 139-156.

Many of the world's largest cities are situated at coasts and in estuaries at or near sea level. Major coastal urban centers have long been vulnerable to natural hazards, such as storm surges, shoreline erosion. or even the occasional destructive tsunami. By the end of this century, increased rates of sea-level rise (SLR) could cause pcmanent inundation of portions of low-lying coastal cities, repeated flooding episodes, and more severe beach erosion. The anticipated SLR will challenge coastal managers and decision makers 10 adapt to and mitigate these potentially adverse effects of climate warming in innovative and creative ways.

The vulnerability of the New York City metropolitan region to SLR was examined as part of the Metropolitan East Coast (MEC) Report for the National Assessment of Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the United States. The region can be considered as an example of a megacily of global importance in international business, finance, trade, culture, education, and diplomacy. The combined New York City/MEC region's role as a megacity is closely linked to its highly developed infrastructure, particularly an efficient and reliable public transportation system. Economic activity, public safety and health depend on growth and modernization of its complex infrastructure. Appropriate responses or adaptations to changing circumstances, including climate change, are essential in maintaining this region's global position.

The greater New York City Metropolitan East Coast area (MEC) encompasses an area of 33,670 km2, and 22 million inhabitants of which around 8 million reside in New York City proper. The definition of the MEC region adopted here is based on work-related commuter patterns moving a large work force to and from the central business district, largely in Manhattan, New York City. The so-defined MEC region consists of 31 counties in lhree states (New York, NY; New Jersey, NJ and Connecticut, CD. Fourteen counties are located in NY State, five of which constitute New York City, 14 in New Jersey, and three in Connecticut. With over 2000 km of shoreline, the region's development has historically been closely linked to the sea. Over 2000 bridges and tunnels exist in New York City alone, and many of the larger bridges connect the four (out of five) New York City island boroughs with each other and the mainland. High-density commercial and residential development is rapidly replacing abandoned factories and piers along the waterfront in metropolitan New York and New Jersey, as is happening in many other coastal cities that have moved from a m

We now review the vulnerability of the New York City metropolitan region to SLR, based on Ihe findings of the MEC report. We outline relevant information and research needs to develop or improve the framework for coherent ad:lptation and constal management policies facing the effects of global warming, and in particular rising sea levels.