CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

Storm Surge

Storm surges occur in coastal areas when strong onshore winds and low atmospheric pressure during passing storms (at times hurricanes), raise water levels along the shore above predicted levels. Severe storm surges that occur during high tides can result in flood damage, evacuation of communities and loss of life. Storm surge is increasing due to sea-level rise due to climate change. 

With approximately 42,000 km of coastline, Atlantic Canada is characterized by diverse coastal systems including sandy beaches, estuaries, intertidal flats, salt marshes, cobble beaches, cliffs, bluffs, and rock shores. Each one of these coastal systems is affected by varying levels of storm surge impacts.

Four independent events are required for a “worst case scenario” surge event to occur in Atlantic Canada: a spring tide; a lunar perigee; a daily high tide; a powerful storm. Storm surges can happen quickly, without allowing much time for preparation.

The combination of sea-level rise and storm surges could overtop the system of historic dikes that control lowland flooding and protect the transportation and trade corridor between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Chignecto Isthmus or Tantramar Marshlands, through which a trade value of CAD 50 million passes each day (Dietz & Hoyt, 2016).

PEI Lawrencetown Flood
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