B.C. releases new sea level rise report



A new report released by the B.C. Government shows governments will need to continue working together to meet the challenge of climate change and rising sea levels over the next 90 years and beyond.

The report, Climate Change Adaption Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use, shows that sea levels will rise faster and greater than previously thought.

The report recommends land use planners take into consideration a 0.5-metre rise in sea levels for developments with design life spans up to the year 2050, and 1.0 metres up to the year 2100.

For the last few decades, sea levels of the eastern North Pacific Ocean along the west coast of North America have remained remarkably steady as other sea levels rise around the world. That is due to the dominance of cold surface waters along the coast.

However, according to a new study from the University of California (UC) San Diego, the cold waters on the coast will give way to warmer waters beginning this decade, which will lead to accelerated sea-level rise. The change in water temperature is related to the climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The B.C. Government report indicates that significant cross-government collaboration and education will be needed to meet the effects rising sea levels will bring to B.C.'s coastal communities.

Last year ministry staff worked with the Fraser Basin Council and local government stakeholders to help inform the report. This work was undertaken as part of the B.C. regional adaptation collaborative, funded in part by the Province and Natural Resources Canada. The Province is leading the way by drafting a policy that will update existing guidelines for sea dikes and land use planning.

While this policy development is in its early stages, moving forward, the Province will take the recommendations of the report under full consideration, including further stakeholder and public engagement.

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