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TitleExposure to coastal hazards in a rapidly expanding northern urban centre, Iqaluit, Nunavut
AuthorHatcher, S V; Forbes, D L
SourceArctic vol. 68, no. 4, 2015 p. 453-471,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140457
PublisherArctic Institute of North America
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS25N/15; 25N/16; 25N/09; 25M/13; 25M/12
Lat/Long WENS -68.5667 -68.4333 63.7667 63.7333
Subjectsplanning; urban planning; sea level changes; floods; climate, arctic; climate effects; coastal management; subsidence; infrastructures
Illustrationsphotographs; location maps; aerial photographs; tables
ProgramCoastal Infrastructure, Climate Change Geoscience
AbstractThe City of Iqaluit, Nunavut, is an expanding urban centre with important infrastructure located in the coastal zone. Practitioners and decision-makers in Iqaluit recognize the need for adaptation planning to respond to environmental change, and the value of scientific knowledge to support sustainability goals. The purpose of this study is to investigate coastal hazards to infrastructure based on past trends, current exposure, and projections of environmental change. Using a combined terrestrial and intertidal digital elevation model derived from satellite imagery and field surveys, we model the inundation resulting from projected sea-level rise. Some public and private infrastructure is already subject to flooding in extreme high-water events. Using a near upper-limit scenario of 0.7 m for relative sea-level rise from 2010 to 2100, key municipal infrastructure will have a remaining freeboard of 0.3-0.8 m above high spring tide, and some infrastructure will be inundated. The large tidal range, limited over-water fetch, and wide intertidal flats reduce the risk of wave impacts. When present, the shorefast icefoot provides protection for coastal infrastructure, except where development artificially steepens the coast. The ice-free season has been lengthening by 1.0-1.5 days/yr since 1979, increasing the opportunity for storm wave generation and thus the exposure to wave runup. Overtopping of critical infrastructure is a potential issue, dependent largely on the magnitude of relative sea-level change and the changing probability of storm waves and extreme high-water events. These results can inform decisions on adaptation, providing measurable limits for safe development.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Iqaluit is a northern coastal community that is growing rapidly, with expanding infrastructure development along the waterfront. Coastal flooding has occurred in the past and rising sea level increases the risk of flooding. Other coastal hazards include ice and wave impacts. Expansion of the open-water season increases the potential for wave runup. Some infrastructure is currently subject to flooding in extreme events and exposure is expected to grow in the future.