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Accurate Estimation and Referencing of the Tidal Water Level Elevations for Effective Determination of the Future Risk of Sea-Level Rise and Increased Storm Surge Severity at all Canadian Coastline and Marine Areas


A research vessel near an iceberg in a subarctic ecosystem. Photos: DFO

For the safety and security of people, property, ecosystems and the environment, it is important to define tidal water reference levels (datums) in Canadian waters, particularly for all coastal areas. To accurately measure the current height or a change in height, including the impacts of climate change, the chosen reference levels must be accurately defined in space. At present, datums are most accurate at and near widely spaced tidal stations, for which long-term water level records exist. The accuracy declines with increased distance from the stations.

To overcome this knowledge gap, existing observational data sets from tide gauges (GPS and water levels) will be combined with the results of oceanographic models, estimates of relative sea-level change, and a sea-level height (geoid) model to capture the relevant spatial variability in water level heights for all Canadian coastal and offshore areas, including the North. The project will deliver a baseline for establishing present and future conditions, including water levels, tide levels, waves and storm surges, intertidal zones, etc. This will help to more effectively assess the future risk to coastal areas and infrastructure from extreme water level events.

Program Name

Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP)



Principal Investigator(s)

Kian Fadaie
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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