What would Nova Scotia look like if its sea levels rose dramatically?
Jennifer Graham of the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax decided to find out. She was inspired by the Drown Your Town movement started by Andrew David Thaler, who wanted to see what San Francisco would look like if the sea level rose.
Thaler, who tweets as @SFriedScientist, created the hashtag #DrownYourTown and encouraged others to do the same.
The images use Google Earth to virtually raise the water.
Nova Scotia is sinking
Graham recruited a dozen volunteers to put Nova Scotia under various amounts of water. The images show scenarios involving rises between one and three metres. One metre is in line with provincial and municipal estimates for the next century.
Graham said the three-metre scenario added increased storm surges.
"Even if our sea level rise does not go much beyond what would naturally happen in a sinking province, we're going to have storms like we have," she said. "All of these numbers are defensible within the range predicted by the IPCC [Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change]."
According to a 2009 report from the government of Nova Scotia, sea levels in the province (and the rest of the world) have been steadily rising since the peak of the last ice age some 20,000 years ago.
Sea levels rose about 30 centimetres in Nova Scotia during the 20th century. "Researchers expect an additional increase from 70 to 140 cm over the next century," the report found.
Climate warming is accelerating the rise, it said, and storm surges would reach further inland if the levels continue to rise.