About the City of New York


United States of America


8,336,697 (2012) (density: 10,380 people/mile2)

Social composition

Throughout its history, New York City has been a major point of entry for immigrants into the United States. Hence, in New York no single country or region of origin dominates.
The city's population in 2010 was 44% white (33.3% non-Hispanic white), 25.5% black (23% non-Hispanic black), and 12.7% Asian. Hispanics of any race represented 28.6% of the population, while Asians constituted the fastest-growing segment of the city's population between 2000 and 2010; the non-Hispanic white population declined 3 percent, the smallest recorded decline in decades; and for the first time since the Civil War, the number of blacks declined over a decade.

Geographical features

New York City is an archipelago with five boroughs spread out over three islands – Long Island, Manhatten and Staten Island – and the mainland of the United States. The city is located at the mouth of the Hudson river which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Atlantic Ocean. Beinga coastal city, most of NYC sites at a relatively low elevation with approximately 1% of the city below 3 meters. .

Climatic conditions

New York City experiences a humid subtropical climate nearing the humid continental climate. Winters are cold and damp while spring and autumn are unpredictable and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually mild with low humidity. Summers are typically hot and humid while the winters are cold. The city experiences consistent precipitation year around.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the New York area, but are not unheard of and always have the potential to strike the city.

Hazards & Vulnerabilities

Local climate hazards

NYC is susceptible to mid-latitude cyclones and nor’easters, which peak from November to April. Sea-level rise of up to 12 centimeters by the 2020s can be expected. Another hazard to NYC is the rising mean temperature, along with the associated increase in heat waves. The New York Climate Change Task Force defined a heat wave as any period of three straight days with a temperature over 32°C.Finally, the city faces island floods and droughts, due to more intense rain events at a decreasing frequency.

Local vulnerabilities and main expected climate change impact

The climate hazards mentioned above will affect the city in many different ways. Roadways, subways, ferry ports, industries located along the coast and waste water treatment facilities are susceptible to inundation.
The erosion of natural defences like coastal wetlands increases the likelihood of flooding of nearby neighbourhoods and industries. The expected higher frequency of storm surges amplifies the vulnerability even further.
Different populations are more vulnerable than others and these vulnerabilities are frequently differentiated along the lines of: inland vs. proximity to coast, young vs. old, and rich vs. poor. Another key climate vulnerability is related to air quality and human health. Increased temperatures are likely to make managing pollutants like ozone and particulate matter with diameters below 2.5 micrometers more difficult. Both pollutants affect lung functioning while the heat is especially harmful to elderly and those suffering from heart and lung diseases.

Coping Mechanisms/ Adaptation measures

What is done on a political level? Adaptation plan?

In 2008, the NYC Climate Change Adaptation Task Force was created in the city administration. This task force works with local experts, city departments as well as stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, integrated climate change risk assessment and adaptation plan for critical infrastructure of the metropolitan region. The task force is made up by 30 city and regional departments and industries.
In addition, the city administration convened the New York Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) to provide expert information about climate change risks and adaptation. In September 2012, the City Council enacted Local Law No. 42, which institutionalized both the NYPCC and the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.

Europe The work leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement No. 308497
Project RAMSES - Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities.