Monday, September 1, 2008

Erosion chewing up Canada's coastlines, researchers warn Rising sea levels and storm surges are taking a bite out of Canada's 243,000 kilometres of coastlines from the Atlantic to the Far North to the Pacific, researchers warn. The phenomenon is nationwide but affects regions in different ways, notes Jean-Pierre Savard of Ouranos, a consortium of scientists and specialists who study climatology across North America.

Savard, who recently returned from an international conference on coastal erosion in Quebec, says the phenomenon was raised by researchers from coast to coast, and overseas as well. "The overall picture is that all government organizations involved in the management of coastal zones are concerned because climate change has a global effect that leads to greater erosion and risks," he said.

Across the North the coasts are threatened by the rapid melting of the permafrost, Savard noted, while melting ice in general exposes coastlines. "This is a big problem across the Gulf and the Arctic because the ice protects the coastline, as it shrinks it becomes an agent of erosion, becoming more mobile and letting more waves hit the coastline, increasing erosion problems," Savard explained.

…Climate researcher Ian Walker of the University of Victoria says Canada has the longest coastline in the world and over 80 per cent of it is submerging due to sea level rise. But even areas where the sea level is stable are at risk, he says, because of the greater frequency of storms, particularly on the Pacific coast. "The greatest concern is areas that are highly developed. Richmond is at or below sea level and it's one of the most densely developed and developing areas in greater Vancouver. The airport which will serve the Olympics is at or below sea level and is protected by dikes.” ….

Somewhere on Vancouver Island, perhaps on the road towards Tofino, on or near the Pacific coast, according to the photographer, , Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

No comments: