Rusticoville Bridge 2010 Dec 21
Photo by Atlantic Adaptation

Rising sea levels a concern for P.E.I.’s coastal real estate

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Researchers have created a 3-D video program that easily and clearly shows how climate change will affect the coasts of Prince Edward Island.

Dubbed CLIVE (a nickname for Coastal Impacts Visualization Environment), the program is actually an analytical geo-visualization tool created by the University of Prince Edward Island’s Climate Research Lab and Simon Fraser University’s Spatial Interface Lab.

Using a video game controller, users can get a bird’s-eye view of how erosion, rising sea levels, and severe storms threaten the province’s sandy coasts. Ninety years in the future, the ocean will have swept away cottages, lighthouses, golf courses, and homes.

A screenshot of CLIVE in action.

Prince Edward Island is Canada’s lowest-lying province with its coasts composed of sand and sandstone, which makes it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. According to Atlantic Adaptation, a group that examines how climate change will affect the east coast, sea level in some parts of Atlantic Canada has risen 30 cm in the past 100 years. In particular, the eastern coast of New Brunswick, the north shore of P.E.I., the south coast of Nova Scotia, and the southwest regions of Newfoundland and Labrador are increasingly at risk.

The creators of CLIVE, which includes Adam Fenech, the director of the Climate Research Lab, hopes that the program increases the citizen’s personal interest in climate change and influences their individual behaviour.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Fenech said he’s already witnessed the impact CLIVE is having on P.E.I. residents. When he demonstrated the program in Charlottetown on Earth Day in 2013, residents were shocked by what they saw.

“The gasps were so loud,” said Fenech. “The change we documented was surprising for them.”

As climate change threatens coastal cities in British Columbia, the Maritimes, and around the world, Fenech hopes CLIVE’s technology can be adapted to areas beyond P.E.I. to show help illustrate the destructive nature of rising sea levels and erosion.