Could climate change create Canada’s next island province?
Waves hit the shore in Cow Bay, N.S. near Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

Huge waves from storm surge hit the shore in Cow Bay, N.S. near Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. With sea rise and storm surges, areas of the Nova Scotia coast will be inundated, and the province might become an island if the isthmus is flooded.
Photo Credit: Canadian Press- Tim Vaughn

Could climate change create Canada’s next island province?

Share

Canada’s east coast province of Nova Scotia is connected to the continent by a large isthmus, but it’s low lying and easily flooded.

The idea that Nova Scotia could be cut off by water is a serious concern that has been raised as far back as 1869 when a British naval lieutenant said high tides could flood transportation links in the Chignecto isthmus between Nova Scotia and its neighbour New Brunswick and therefore the rest of Canada.

Water is beginning to breach the dikes near the Amherst Community Wind Farm.
Water is beginning to breach the dikes near the Amherst Community Wind Farm. © Emergency Management/Municipality of Cumberland

Now with climate change, the mayor of the city of Amherst which is near the narrowest section of the isthmus, is expressing concern. He says without major infrastructure improvements, Nova Scotia could become an island within two or three decades.

Evidence indicates that water from the Bay of Fundy will overcome or destroy the Tantramar dykes, causing flooding in Sackville.
Evidence indicates that water from the Bay of Fundy will overcome or destroy the Tantramar dykes, causing flooding in Sackville. © Mount Alison Geospatial Modelling Lab

Actually the area is lowland –the Tantramar marshes- that was reclaimed for farming and protected by dikes built by the first settlers in the area in the late 1600’s. Those dikes kept the region from flooding by the tides and storm surges.

With global warming resulting in sea level rise, along with high tides and more violent storms, there are serious concerns that the ageing dikes in place will be breached and vast areas flooded.

Tim Webster (PhD) a research scientist with the Applied Geomatics Research Group at Nova Scotia Community College in Middleton, and expert in the subject, says a very possible storm surge of 2 metres occurring at a high tide could top the dikes and cut transport routes. He noted that it would take a sea rising 12 metres to cross the isthmus and actually create an island. That he says is unlikely for many decades to come.

map showing the Chignecto isthmus connecting Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. The narrowest section around Amherst could be flooded with a combination of sea level rise, tides and storm surge
map showing the Chignecto isthmus connecting Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. The narrowest section around Amherst could be flooded with a combination of sea level rise, tides and storm surge. © google

.

The mayor of Amherst N.S, and co-signed by the mayor of Sackville N.B. and the warden of Cumberland County, has written to the ministers of the two provinces responsible for infrastructure and to the federal government requesting an early meeting to discuss the situation.

Close up of the narrow part of the Chignecto isthmus. The tan colour is the muddy water at the top of the Bay of Fundy, the light green areas are the low lying areas most easily flooded. Both Amherst and Sackville would be threatened along with many smaller towns in the flood zone.
Satellite close-up of the narrow part of the Chignecto isthmus. The tan colour is the muddy water at the top of the Bay of Fundy, the light green areas are the low lying areas most easily flooded. Both Amherst and Sackville would be threatened along with many smaller towns in the flood zone. © Google Earth

Improving and raising the dikes would cost millions of dollars, but a breach or flooding that would cut off the major road and rail links would result in losses of trade of about $50 million per day, according to a 2016 Natural Resources Canada study.

A wind turbine and power poles are surrounded by floodwater on the Tantramar Marsh
A wind turbine and power poles are surrounded by floodwater on the Tantramar Marsh © Emergency Management/Municipality of Cumberland)

Mayor Kogon of Amherst says the work should be undertaken within the next few years, but has yet to hear back, adding that it’s not a question of if the dikes will be overcome, but when.

Additional information- sources

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

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.

*

One comment on “Could climate change create Canada’s next island province?
  1. Peter says:

    It is quite deplorable that Industrial Wind Turbines be placed in a marsh to start with. they are possible partly the cause with allthat concrete vibration too … may they rust to death