Predictions surrounding rising sea levels around the world and the threat they pose to millions of coastal dwellers, are sounding more and more ominous. This was evident as panel members told their stories. The moderator was Brigitte Noël. (l.)
“According to a recent study in “Nature,” more than 13 million Americans will lose their homes to sea level rise by the end of this century. And Canada could face a similar fate.
“When you hear about the global impacts from one of our panelists, 13 million might sadly begin to sound like a few drops in the ocean when it comes to how many will be affected.
“The repercussions of rising sea levels will challenge the way countries make planning decisions about climate change.”
Dr. Fenech warns that some of the higher sea level rise predictions anywhere are for much of the eastern seaboard of North America. And that includes his home, PEI and Atlantic Canada.
“We conducted a study a few years ago that looked at the coastline we looked at every single metre of PEI from the year 1968 to 2010 &, when you took that thin strip of land and added them all up, you could see that, overall there was 35 k2 of land that was eroded or lost. There was almost 15 k2 that were gained, & overall there was a net loss of 20 k2. That’s about 5,000 acres. That’s about half the size of Charlottetown. So the island’s not going anywhere fast. Under those rates of erosion, it’s going to take 10 thousand years for Prince Edward Island to completely disappear. But it is the most important part of PEI. Everybody loves to be close to the shoreline. There’s a lot of infrastructure that’s close to the shoreline. So when we look at all those metre changes that I talked about between 1968 & 2010, and we looked at the average change that happened, we multiply that by 30, 60 & 90 yrs just to get a sense of what kind of infrastructure is going to be vulnerable.
"Now we all think that the rates of erosion are going to increase because sea levels are increasing, the land itself is falling little bit. we’re getting more storms in terms of frequency in terms of magnitude, but just under current rates of erosion, things that we’ve seen over the last 40 yrs or so, there’s at least a thousand homes & cottages that are threatened or vulnerable. We have 17 lighthouses one of them is actually half in the water already. We even have wind turbines, ones that we’ve put in in the last 10 yrs or so, are vulnerable to coastal erosion. I think the big message here is, let’s not build so darn close to the shore.”