By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Distressing figures released by the Canadian government at the beginning of April on the rising seas in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, along the Canadian seashore, has led the government of Nova Scotia to take actions to protect its coast.
Last week (April 17th) officials have announced C$114 million in funds to improve over 64 km of dikes in the province to protect sea-level communities against rising sea levels and coastal flooding.
“Climate change is having a dramatic impact on our Canadian communities,” South Shore-St. Margaret’s MP and Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan said Wednesday morning at the announcement in Grand Pre.
Jordan said the money will fund projects aimed at preventing flooding of will help prevent the indigenous communities and over 20,000 hectares of farmland. In all, officials hope to protect over sixty communities and towns along the western coast of Nova Scotia.
For some environmentalists and scientists Nova Scotia may potentially be ground zero of a Canadian climate change disaster. Communities in the area have been waiting for word on funding to keep the strip of land between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick above water level.
“Floods, wildfires and winter storms are all getting worse and more frequent,” Jordan told people gathered for the announcement. “The effects of these extreme weather events don’t go away overnight. It takes time to rebuild, and repairing the damage can take a major toll.”
“Coastal flooding not only poses a threat to valuable farmland, homes and businesses, but it can impact access to essential services like power and clean drinking water, disrupt sewage treatment systems, and interrupt safe transportation routes,” concluded the official.
In early April, the Canadian government released Canada’s Changing Climate Report (CCCR), which included a chapter on oceans and sea level rising. The report gave several possible scenarios for Canada’s coast in the coming years.
Blair Greenan, one of the federal oceanographer who oversaw the oceans chapter of the report, said in an interview to local media, that without any adaptation measures, flooding will be noticeable in just a decade as relative sea level goes up approximately 10 centimeters.
“It is an important point that southern Atlantic Canada is the highest risk area in Canada for sea level rise,” he was quoted as saying during the interview.
According to Canada’s Changing Climate Report (CCCR), Canada’s Atlantic Ocean region is facing a dual effect of rising seas and falling coastlines.
“Coastal flooding is expected to increase in many areas of Canada due to local sea level rise. Changes in local sea-level are a combination of global sea level rise and local land subsidence,” says the report.
“The loss of sea ice in the Arctic and Atlantic Canada further increases the risk of damage to coastal infrastructure and ecosystem as a result of larger storm surges and waves,” concludes the study.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), since 1948, global average temperatures have increased by about 0.8 Celsius.
Canada, however, is on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and Northern Canada is heating up at almost three times the global average.