After Hurricane Sandy rocked the U.S. East Coast in 2012, the New York City government set out to repair the city — and asked for NASA’s help. The mayor’s office didn’t want NASA scientists out there with hammers or hard hats. Instead, they asked for information to include in their blueprints on how climate change, specifically increased risk of flooding, will affect the nation’s most populous city.
“The city is not only repairing the city to the current risks of coastal flooding, but also reflecting future projections of coastal flooding due to rising global sea levels,” said Cynthia Rosenzweig, head of the Climate Impacts Group at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. “Our projections from NASA’s and other climate models and data are actually used in the city’s guidelines for renovations and rebuilding after the hurricane.”
It isn’t just New York City that’s interested in these questions about the local impacts of climate change. More than 4,000 miles away in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the city’s leaders were looking to address a similar climate question: How can they prepare for the effects of climate change on their city?
Now, researchers and city officials from two of the world’s major metropolises, New York City and Rio de Janeiro, are coming together to share their insights and solutions to mitigate against specific climate risks afflicting both their cities — sea level rise, increased temperatures and changes in water quality. The gathering will be an in-depth training workshop where researchers can share the utility of NASA satellite data and climate models as well as how they are working with various city governments.
The workshop takes place this week at GISS with participants from GISS, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the Urban Climate Change Research Network at Columbia University, New York; Rio de Janeiro City Hall; and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. A public educational webinar discussing how the city of Rio de Janeiro is responding to the challenge of monitoring water quality and addressing sea-level rise will take place on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. EST.