NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing Search all of NY.gov
D E C banner
D E C banner

Disclaimer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

November 7, 2008 Meeting - Sea Level Rise Task Force

Meeting Purposes:

  • Task force review of steering committee recommendations for assumptions of sea level rise and coastal inundation in New York
  • Present task force with information on other adaptation planning efforts in New York
  • Introduce workgroup chairs to task force and hear progress to date on tasks
  • Task force review of revised timeline
  • Task force approval of steering committee recommendations and next steps

Task Force Actions

Review and approval of revised task force framework and timeline

  • The task force discussed the timeline and outreach efforts.
  • There will be two major participation and outreach phases. The first will be a series of public scoping sessions in 3-5 regions modeled after the DEC's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping sessions to get public/stakeholder input on issues to be addressed by the task force. The second phase, in early fall, will be to get public/stakeholder input on the draft recommendations and report.
  • Work group chairs should incorporate stakeholder input into their efforts.
  • Adam Freed will share information with the group on what other cities have done to communicate climate change.

Approval of steering committee recommendations

The following documents were approved by the Task Force:

  • Recommendations for assumptions of sea level rise and coastal inundation in New York including the incorporation of storm surge and flood recurrence intervals based on projections of higher sea level (not including changes in frequency or intensity of storms).
  • Revised SLRTF Framework document including the revised project timeline

The next task force meeting will be held in late January or early February.

Steering committee recommendations for assumptions of sea level rise and coastal inundation in New York - Alan Belensz, DEC and Fred Anders, DOS

On Sept. 15th the Steering Committee heard presentations on estimations and implications for sea level rise from Drs. Vivian Gornitz and Cynthia Rosenzweig of the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR), and Dr. Norbert Psuty, professor of geological sciences at Rutgers University. Subsequent discussions on sea level rise projections were held with representatives from CCSR, the City of New York Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, and with representatives from other coastal states.

The principal causes of sea level rise in coastal New York are:

  • Globally -- thermal expansion of ocean waters & melting of glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets
  • Locally -- subsidence of coastal lands & changes in ocean surface elevation primarily due to water currents and air pressure (wind)
  • Each of the components of sea level rise has a qualitative level of uncertainty. Local land subsidence and global thermal expansion estimates have relatively more certainty; meltwater is the least certain, local surface elevation in-between
  • The uncertainty associated with sea level rise estimates increase as the time length of the estimates increase

CCSR is currently developing estimates of sea level rise for New York City. A New York State climate change adaptation study, recently funded by NYSERDA , will use CCSR expertise to refine these estimates for all coastal New York and the Hudson River north to the Federal Dam in Troy. For the near-term work of the NYS SLRTF and its working groups, the Steering Committee recommends utilization of the following draft CCSR NYC sea level rise estimates:

Sea Level Rise Estimates
Year NYS Sea Level Rise1 2
IPCC Adapted Method (Inches)
NYC Sea Level Rise
High-End Scenario3 (inches)
2020s 4.0 - 7.0 12
2050s 9.0 - 14.0 24
2080s 16.0 - 25.0 48
  • 1 IPCC Adapted methodology. Central range is middle 67% of values from model-based probabilities.
  • 2 Preliminary CCSR analyses suggest corrections for subsidence and local ocean elevation along the shoreline of Long Island and Westchester County will differ from estimates for NYC SLR by less than 1-2 inches per century. Determination of corrections for the Hudson River Valley coastline will require additional scientific study.
  • 3 Includes expert consideration of recent accelerated icemelt, icemelt dynamics and paleoclimate studies.

Workgroups will determine which available SLR estimates are most appropriate for use. For example, adaptation planning efforts that consider long-lived projects with high capital costs, such as constructing a new building or retrofitting a tunnel or bridge, may find the High-End scenarios most useful

  • The SLRTF should consider establishing a protocol for routinely re-evaluating sea level rise estimates to incorporate the latest scientific information
  • The NYSERDA study will evaluate how climate change may alter the frequency of coastal storm flood recurrence levels for coastal New York

Meeting Summary

Attendees

Task Force and Steering Committee Members:
Fred Anders, NYS Department of State, Coastal Resources
Alan Belensz, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Climate Change Office
Frank Castelli, Suffolk County, Division of Water Quality Improvement
Tracey Corbitt, Westchester County, Department of Planning
Udo Drescher, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 2
Adam Freed, NYC Mayor's Office
Alexander B. (Pete) Grannis, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Commissioner
Daniel Gulizio, Suffolk County, Department of Planning
Mark Lowery, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Climate Change Office
Kristin Marcell, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation ,Hudson River Estuary Program
Suzanne Mattei, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 2
Sarah Newkirk, The Nature Conservancy
Fred Nuffer, State Emergency Management Office
Gerald Scattaglia, NYS Department of Insurance
Greg Brunelle, State Emergency Management Office
Robin Schlaff, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 3
Anna Servidone, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water
Jared Snyder, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Assistant Commissioner
Amanda Stevens, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority
Richard Svenson, NYS Department of Health, Division of Environmental Health Protection
Brad Tito, Nassau County, Office of the Executive
Lisa Weiss, NYS Department of Transportation
Nate Woiwode, The Nature Conservancy

Others:
Frank Buonaiuto, Hunter College
Peter Iwanowicz, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Climate Change Office
Tim Eidle, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 2
Jeanette Koster, interested citizen

Announcements

  • Task force and steering committee members were reminded that all written communication - even between members, should be considered FOIL-able and discoverable.
  • Due to state budget restrictions future meetings of the steering committee will be held by videoconferencing and conference call wherever possible to reduce travel costs
  • You can find more information on the Sea Level Rise Task Force webpage. A listserv has also been created for the task force. Subscribe to GovDelivery to receive email updates.
  • The NYS SLRTF, NYC Adaptation Task Force, NYSERDA, and the Rising Waters project have committed to collaborating to make sure that we present a comprehensive and consistent message to the public on the amount and potential effects of sea level rise and the development of recommendations to respond.

Agenda

10:00 - 10:30 Arrival and Sign-in

10:30 - 10:40 Welcome and Introductions - Commissioner Alexander B. Grannis, DEC

10:40 - 11:00 Steering committee recommendations for assumptions of sea level rise and coastal inundation in New York - Alan Belensz, DEC and Fred Anders, DOS

11:00 - 11:45 Climate adaptation planning efforts in New York

  • Adam Freed, New York City Mayor's Office
    NYC Climate Change Adaptation Task Force
  • Amanda Stevens, NYSERDA
    NYSERDA effort to summarize the impacts of climate change in NYS
  • Kristin Marcell, DEC
    Rising Waters scenario planning effort in the Hudson Valley

11:45 - 12:00 Reports from sector work group chairs

  • Ecosystems and Natural Habitats
    Sarah Newkirk, The Nature Conservancy and Karen Chytalo, DEC
  • Infrastructure and Community Resilience
    Lisa Weiss, DOT and Suzanne Mattei, DEC

12:00 - 12:15 Review of revised task force timeline - Mark Lowery, DEC

12:15 - 12:30 Approval of steering committee recommendations and next steps - Jared Snyder, DEC

12:30 Adjourn