Coastal Climate Change

What is climate change?

Climate refers to normal weather conditions (temperature, precipitation) over an extended period of time. Climate change refers to a new normal in these weather conditions. Climate change is not simply a warming of temperatures; climate change varies by region, as some places in the world are getting warmer and some places are getting cooler. The conditions of today will not be the conditions of tomorrow. Within Atlantic Canada, the main impacts associated directly with climate change are coastal flooding and shoreline erosion.

What is causing climate change?

The earth’s climate experiences natural cycles of warming and cooling over hundreds and even thousands of years. During the past century, human activities are causing changes to the land and air that reduce the ability of the earth to absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is causing the earth’s climate to warm even more than would be expected given the natural cycle alone.

What are the coastal impacts of climate change?

Climate change is already resulting in a rise in sea level, as well as stronger storms. These changes are putting coastal communities at greater risk of impacts such as coastal flooding and shoreline erosion.

Climate Change Impacts

Climate change impacts on coastal hazards (Image Source: Vincent Leys, CBCL)

Date modified: 2015-10-06