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Long-Term Storm Surge Simulations with Future Climate Forcing


Storm surges pose a real threat to coastal security. On December 6, 2010, a storm surge damaged many residential properties and stretch of Highway 120 (above) at Mont-Joli Québec, along the south coast of the St. Lawrence Estuary. Photo: Zhigang Xu, DFO

Future climate change may cause more frequent storm surges, a severe coastal hazard that affects water levels, coastal erosion, flooding and navigation safety, and that can also damage marine infrastructure. Advancements in climate modelling provide new opportunities for assessing the potential impacts of future storm surges, which has been challenging to date. This pilot project explores the use of climate model solutions to forecast future storm surges, with the potential to evolve into a climate change adaptation tool in the future.

Using a suitable climate database, a long-term time series of water level responses to storms will be developed for points of interest along the East Coast of Canada, such as where the Canadian Hydrographic Service maintains permanent tidal gauges. The findings will provide valuable knowledge for climate change adaptation for a range of departmental programs including the Canadian Coast Guard, the Small Craft Harbours Program, Habitat Management, and Maritime Security. This project is an extension of an on-going similar project funded by the Ministère des Transports du Québec (Québec Ministry of Transport), which aims to provide storm-surge modelling results for assessing climate-change related risks to transportation infrastructure.

Program Name

Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP)


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Zhigang Xu
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Denis Lefaivre
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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