NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) - New York City's average temperature could rise by as much as 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit this century, and once-in-a-century storms may occur as often as every 15 years, a climate change panel said on Tuesday.
The report by the New York City Panel on Climate Change was requested by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to better understand how global temperature levels could strain the city's infrastructure.
The report was based on data from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a 2007 report but for the first time compiles figures pertinent to New York.
"The climate change projections developed by our expert panel put numbers to what we already know -- climate change is real and could have serious consequences for New York if we don't take action," Bloomberg said.
"We cannot wait until after our infrastructure has been compromised to begin to plan for the effects of climate change," he said.
The report predicts average annual temperatures will increase by 4 to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit and extreme events such as heat waves, intense rain, droughts and coastal flooding will become more frequent and more intense.
Coastal floods that are now expected occur once every 10 years could occur once every three years and floods that occur once in a century could begin to occur once in every 15 to 35 years, the report said.
According to the U.N. panel, global temperatures are likely to rise by between 1.1 and 6.4 Celsius (2.0 and 11.5 Fahrenheit) and sea levels by between 18 cm and 59 cm (7 inches and 23 inches) this century. (Reporting by Edith Honan and David Wiessler)
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