A portion of the PEI coastline. You can see where large sections, undermined, have recently fallen into the sea.

A portion of the PEI coastline. You can see where large sections, undermined, have recently fallen into the sea.
Photo Credit: Lynse Allen

Climate change and P.E.I.’s slow disappearance

Share

Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, and it’s getting smaller. A recent storm has once again highlighted the plight of PEI.  It is a low-lying sand and sandstone island in the Gulf of St Lawrence and as the climate has been changing in the past few years the erosion from the sea has been accelerating.

Red balloon indicates Lennox Island. Arrow indicates West Point Lighthouse inn and museum. Most of the coastline is now threatened with increased erosion and inundation from sea rise and storm surge
Red balloon indicates Lennox Island. Arrow indicates West Point Lighthouse inn and museum. Most of the coastline is now threatened with increased erosion and inundation from sea rise and storm surge © Google maps

The island has several dozen historic lighthouses, many of which are now threatened with falling into the sea.  At least one of them has had to be moved back twice in the past couple of decades.

This relatively recent but undated photo shows there was still some distance between the light and the sea.
This relatively recent but undated photo shows there was still some distance between the light and the sea. © museumspei.ca

.

Almost all the land in front of the  West Point lighthouse is gone.
This December photo shows almost all the land in front of the West Point lighthouse is gone. © Carol Livingstone

‘I was absolutely shocked,’ says Carol Livingstone, at the eroding shoreline at the West Point lighthouse after storms in late November.

Recent storms damaged the boardwalk at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park by the lighthouse, The boardwalk used to be  several metres from the shore.
The recent storms damaged the boardwalk at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park by the lighthouse, The boardwalk used to be several metres from the shore. © Carol Livingstone

She is the vice-president of the P.E.I. Lighthouse Society, and says reinforcement of the eroding bank protecting the West Point lighthouse needs to happen quickly,  before spring. “If something isn’t done, our lighthouse will be undermined”, she says.

Results of a storm surge in Dec 2011 at Long River. Rising sea levels plus storm surges have caused extensive damage to areas througout the province in recent years, and it’s only expected to get worse. Each time a little more land is lost.
Results of a storm surge in Dec 2011 flooding a barn and property at Long River. Rising sea levels plus storm surges have caused extensive damage to areas througout the province in recent years, and it’s only expected to get worse. Each time a little more land is lost. ©  Marion Paynter

With climate change storms in Gulf are more frequent and more violent. The concern is sea level rise combined with storm surge the erosion of the coastline has become greater. This is a concern throughout the maritimes but especially the “soft” coastline of P.E.I.

In winter, sea ice along the coast has given protection to the shore from the severe winter storms. With climate change there has been less ice, and for a shorter period, meaning the shore is exposed for longer periods.

The small aboriginal community on Lennox Island in P.E.I. is another example of concern. The little island is only about four metres above sea level and is eroding even faster than other areas.

The little island is losing about a hectare of land per year says Adam Fenech, director of the climate lab at the University of Prince Edward Island.

David Haley’s home on the shore in Lennox could be in the water in six or seven years.
David Haley’s home seen in the background on the shore in Lennox could be in the water in six or seven years. © Laura Chapin

One solution is to ‘armour’ threatened land with large rocks, but as PEI has none, they have to be brought in from elsewhere off-island at great expense. Some barriers put up in the past, have already been washed away by increasing strong storms.

The provincial government is now looking at limiting or preventing development around certain coastal regions.  A study showed that at current rates of erosion, over 1,000 homes as well as several barns and garages, seventeen lighthouses, 150 commercial operations, several waste water treatment ponds, about 50 kilometers of roads, and at least one wind turbine all will be threatened over the next several dozen years.

Additional information – sources

Share
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Environment, Internet, Science and Technology, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

3 comments on “Climate change and P.E.I.’s slow disappearance
  1. Barry says:

    Erosion is a bitch but you may as well start planning on moving before it is too late. The island will erode away whether there is climate change or not.

  2. Meme Mine69 says:

    NEWS FLASH

    President Elect Donald Trump;

    “Unless NASA is also only 99% sure the planet isn’t flat, all climate change funding and policies will be terminated permanently until NASA says their climate change END OF DAYS Armageddon is as real as they say the planet isn’t flat.”

  3. Stacey says:

    Listen, places like this are being affected by land erosion and other geological factors, one side is rising out of the water while the other goes down. How can sea level rise be the cause when the rate of sea level rise at 1.8 mm/yr is well within the range expected as we come out of the last ice age. It is nothing to be shocked by and is easily adaptable to.