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TitleSea-level projections for five pilot communities of the Nunavut climate change partnership
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorJames, T SORCID logo; Simon, K M; Forbes, D LORCID logo; Dyke, A S; Mate, D J
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 6715, 2011, 27 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is related to Nunavut Climate Change Partnership Workshop, February 15-16, 2011
File formatpdf
NTS25N; 25O; 55D; 55E; 55F; 55K; 77A; 77D; 86N; 86O; 87A
AreaIqaluit; Cambridge Bay; Kugluktuk; Whale Cove; Arviat
Lat/Long WENS-120.0000 -66.0000 70.0000 60.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; marine geology; Nature and Environment; sea level changes; sea level fluctuations; climate, arctic; climate; environmental impacts; environmental studies; environmental analysis; Climate change
Illustrationslocation maps; tables; plots
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience
Released2011 02 28
Estimates of the range of sea-level change expected in the next 90 years (2010 to 2100) for five communities in Nunavut (Table S-1) are derived from an assessment of published estimates of projected global sea-level change and an evaluation of vertical land motion. The projections provided here are intended to contribute to discussions on the possible impacts of projected sea-level change and potential mitigation measures that could be implemented at each community. Consideration of other factors affecting coastal stability, such as autumn storms and sea-ice extent, and assessment of shoreline and nearshore land use and infrastructure vulnerability, are also essential parts of the discussion, but are beyond the scope of this report. The global sea-level change scenarios considered in this study provide 15 cm (minimum) to 196 cm (maximum) of sea-level rise at the year 2100 (using 2010 as the start date). The community projections given in Table S-1 are based on our assessment of the likely amount of global sea-level change, spanning from 28 cm to 115 cm by the year 2100 (a range of 87 cm). Sea-level change from changing glaciers and ice caps is not spatially uniform (Mitrovica et al., 2001) and the community-specific sea-level projections include this "sea-level fingerprinting" effect. Meltwater from the Greenland ice sheet is redistributed in the global oceans in such a way that it contributes to stable or falling sea levels for the five communities, while meltwater from glaciers and ice caps contributes to reduced amounts of sea-level rise compared to the amount that would be expected from uniform meltwater redistribution. The net effect is that the range of projected sea-level change at each community is substantially less than the amount that would have been determined if melt-water redistribution had been assumed to be uniform. Some of the community sea-level projections are notable for significant sea-level fall. This is a consequence of land uplift, which is occurring due to glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). GIA is the delayed response of the Earth to surface unloading caused by deglaciation at the end of the last Ice Age. The rising land ameliorates the effects of global sea-level rise, especially for Arviat and Whale Cove, which are rising the fastest. The sea-level change projections given in Table S-1 include the effects of uncertainty in vertical land motion and this extends the range of projections significantly, although more than half of the range (uncertainty) in the community sea-level projections is due to the global sea-level projections. An additional unquantified, but potentially large, source of error arises from the assumptions used in assessing the spatially variable meltwater redistribution. Significant progress in reducing the current large range of sea-level projections could be realized by improving observations of vertical land motion and from carrying out an updated assessment of the spatially variable redistribution of meltwater from Arctic ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet.

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