Climate Change and the Cumulative Impacts of Environmental Stresses (CIES)


Illustration: Example of joint extreme values for surges and waves. Illustration Credit: COLES, S. G. and TAWN, J. A. (1994). Statistical methods for multivariate extremes: an application to structural design. Appl. Statist., 43 , 1-48.

Climate change can influence a variety of factors, including waves and storm surges, which contribute to extreme high sea levels and uncertainty in estimates. These changes can impact coastal ecology and infrastructure, and also affect marine transportation. To inform climate change adaptation strategies, the Small Craft Harbours Program and the Real Property, Safety and Security Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada have requested better information about the cumulative impacts of environmental stresses on coastal infrastructure. This project will develop a method for incorporating the combined effects of storm surge and waves (since both increase during storms) into extreme estimates in order to produce more accurate estimates, as shown in the figure below.

Observations and outputs from high-resolution, state-of-the-art DFO computer models will be used to determine the possible variability in extreme water level and extreme wave crest estimates for selected locations, such as coastal communities in Atlantic Canada. Estimates will be made for multi-decadal time periods (i.e. 2040-2069) representing the present climate and climate change, as generated by collaborating ACCASP projects. Data sets and maps of climate change trends and projections of extreme high sea levels—based on the combined effects of storm surge and waves—will be created in outputs that are convertible to GIS formats and made available on a DFO website for use as an adaptation tool.

Program Name

Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP)



Principal Investigator(s)

William Perrie
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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