Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sea level rise threatens New Brunswick coast

Adam Huras in the Telegraph-Journal (Canada): Four years ago, Environment Canada warned people living along New Brunswick's southeast coast to prepare for rising sea levels during the next few decades. But meteorologist RĂ©al Daigle, the report's project manager, says the rise in water levels is accelerating faster than previously calculated. "It is definitely speeding up," he said, pointing to a weekend storm surge that brought water levels in eastern New Brunswick to near record highs. "In Shediac Bay you are looking at an extra 10 centimetres of rise above the global sea-level change."

Residents in the Port Elgin area were still assessing the damage on Monday after a huge storm surge roared in from the Northumberland Strait, flooding homes and ripping seafront cottages off their foundations. Experts warn the destructive surge could be a harbinger of difficult times to come as global warming feeds rising sea levels.

Environment Canada's three-year, $2.5-million study created both flood-risk and ecosystem maps on sections of the coast from Kouchibouguac National Park to Cape Jourimain. The report found that major storm surges will hit the coast every five to 10 years during the next century. In the past, major flooding has occurred once or twice every 100 years. Daigle said sea levels are now expected to rise one metre by 2100. "Some parts of the New Brunswick shoreline will become wetland," he said. "With a one metre sea-level rise, what occurred in 2000 could now occur every five years."…

The boardwalk across the dunes in the Irving Eco-Centre in Bouctouche, Kent County, New Brunswick, Canada. Shot by Alex Vye (Alexvye at en.wikipedia), Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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