New York State Resiliency Institute for Storms and Emergencies: Translate Weather and Climate Research to Actions

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 3:30 PM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Minghua Zhang, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY; and E. K. M. Chang and B. Colle

Handout (1.9 MB)

The New York State Resiliency Institute for Storms and Emergencies (NYS RISE) was established by the State of New York to conduct research that improves the resilience of the state to extreme weather events and climate change. It is a consortium of Stony Brook University, New York University, Columbia University, Cornell University, City University of New York, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Its missions are: to improve the coordination among multiple sources of information and expertise, and speed the translation from research to application; to serve as a state-wide anchor for policymakers and emergency responders by providing comprehensive analysis for critical decisions before, during, and after extreme weather events; and to provide rapid assessment of resiliency and investment strategies to enhance the robustness and resourcefulness of New York State in the face of extreme weather events and climate change.

NYS RISE research and development are conducted across a broad spectrum of multi-disciplinary themes. They are currently organized into four topical areas: (1) Enhancement of rapid response plan. This includes assessment of mitigation and response plans in different counties for extreme weather events, scenario simulations before the arrival of an extreme event, near-term ensemble forecasts, and long-lead forecasts; (2) Cascading dynamics of extreme weather. This includes impacts on transportation systems, energy distribution systems, wastewater facilities, drinking water supply and distribution systems, and coastal ecological systems; (3) Vulnerability and resilience assessments. This includes vulnerability and resilience of critical infrastructure facilities, properties and communities, economical activities, and vulnerability and resilience metrics; (4) Storm and environmental risks under climate change. This includes storm surges under climate change, evacuation zone modeling, and integration of climate-change related observational monitoring datasets along the NYS shorelines.

An important emphasis of NYS RISE is the end-to-end products from weather and climate research to practical actions by policymakers and stakeholders. Interdisciplinary teams in the topical and sub-topical areas consist of experts in meteorology, oceanography, engineering, economics, and the social sciences. For example, for scenario analysis of Superstorm Sandy, wind simulations using WRF are used to drive storm surge and wave models to obtain the time-dependent coastal flooding at the street levels; the flooding is used to carry out time-dependent modeling of road capacity, evacuation time, and failing spots; the flooding levels and cascading impacts on evacuations are then displayed in a 3-D visualization system to communicate to the decision makers and the public; recommendations are made on engineering designs and mitigations. In this presentation, we will highlight several of these examples. We will also discuss successes and gaps in NYS RISE as well as our experiences working with state agencies and stakeholders to forge effective partnerships.