finding 16.2 : climate-compromises-infrastructure

Infrastructure will be increasingly compromised by climate-related hazards, including sea level rise, coastal flooding, and intense precipitation events.



This finding is from chapter 16 of Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment.

Process for developing key messages: Results of the Northeast Regional Climate assessment workshop that was held on November 17-18, 2011, at Columbia University, with approximately 60 attendees, were critically important in our assessment. The workshop was the beginning of the process that led to the foundational Technical Input Report (TIR).5f2be58e-4fcf-439c-bba8-1ed29be711fe That 313-page report consisted of seven chapters by 13 lead authors and more than 60 authors in total. Public and private citizens or institutions who service and anticipate a role in maintaining support for vulnerable populations in Northeast cities and communities indicated that they are making plans to judge the demand for adaptation services. These stakeholder interactions were surveyed and engaged in the preparation of this chapter. We are confident that the TIR authors made a vigorous attempt to engage various agencies at the state level and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have broader perspectives. The author team engaged in multiple technical discussions via teleconferences, which included careful review of the foundational TIR5f2be58e-4fcf-439c-bba8-1ed29be711fe and approximately 50 additional technical inputs provided by the public, as well as the other published literature and professional judgment. Discussions were followed by expert deliberation of draft key messages by the authors and targeted consultation with additional experts by the lead author of each key message.

Description of evidence base: The key message summarizes extensive evidence documented in the Northeast Technical Input Report (TIR).5f2be58e-4fcf-439c-bba8-1ed29be711fe Technical Input reports (48) on a wide range of topics were also received and reviewed as part of the Federal Register Notice solicitation for public input. To capture key issues, concerns and opportunities in the region, various regional assessments were also consulted, such as PlaNYC (http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030) and Boston’s Climate Plan (http://www.cityofboston.gov/Images_Documents/A%20Climate%20of%20Progress%20-%20CAP%20Update%202011_tcm3-25020.pdf). In addition, a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation08462c5a-b68a-43d2-98a3-ea0f6276fe11 provided extensive documentation that augmented an NGO report.587eac3b-a1b8-435b-9e9f-a5a8068ded0a Other sources that support this key message include Horton and Rosenzweig, 2010, Rosenzweig et al. 2011, and Zimmerman and Faris, 2010.78fbf40c-2639-480a-8410-5be748750f2b 037b0db1-43d9-41dc-af2e-f824b32abf27 f041f900-42eb-4e0e-ba8b-284b731f2e4d

New information and remaining uncertainties: Important new evidence (cited above) confirmed many of the findings from the prior Northeast assessment: (http://nca2009.globalchange.gov/northeast) which informed the prior NCA.e251f590-177e-4ba6-8ed1-6f68b5e54c8a The new sources above relied on improved models that have been calibrated to new observational data across the region. It is important to note, of course, that there is wide diversity across the region because both exposure and sensitivity are location- and socioeconomic-context-specific. The wisdom derived from many previous assessments by the National Academy of Sciences, the New York Panel on Climate Change, and the 2009 National Climate Assessmente251f590-177e-4ba6-8ed1-6f68b5e54c8a fbb1a8af-292f-4fa4-9ed9-2724c65c5f29 65ce3b87-d63b-4582-a9b5-f25510b64e97 indicates that future vulnerability at any specific location will be influenced by changes in demography, economics, and policy. These changes are difficult to predict at local scales even as they also depend on international and national considerations. The potential for adaptation strategies (and to a lesser extent mitigation) to reduce these vulnerabilities is yet another source of uncertainty that expands as the future moves into the middle of this century.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence: We have very high confidence in projected sea level rise and increased coastal flooding, and high confidence for increased intense precipitation events. This assessment of confidence is based on our review of the literature and submitted input and has been defended internally and externally in conversation with local decision-makers and representatives of interested NGOs, as well as the extensive interactions with stakeholders across the region reported in the Northeast TIR.5f2be58e-4fcf-439c-bba8-1ed29be711fe Very high confidence that infrastructure will be increasingly compromised, based on the clear evidence of impacts on current infrastructure from hazards such as Hurricane Irene, and from the huge deficit of needed renewal identified by a diverse engineering community.ac3fd5f4-286e-4e2d-ab4b-22bda523f50e

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