PEI

Coastal erosion study of P.E.I. shows surprising results

A new annual study conducted by UPEI's Climate Research Lab, shows P.E.I. lost an average of 46 centimetres of sea coastline last year.

'It is concerning': Andy MacDonald, graduate student at UPEI's Climate Research Lab

Graduate student Andy MacDonald measures erosion at one of more than 100 pinned sites in PEI. (UPEI)

A new annual study conducted by UPEI's Climate Research Lab, shows P.E.I. lost an average of 46 centimetres of sea coastline last year.

Researchers didn't expect that amount of coastal erosion because there were no major storm surges last winter impacting the shore.

Graduate student Andy MacDonald went to more than 100 sites for the study.

"The results were definitely surprising," said MacDonald. "We found an average of 46 centimetres of loss, which compared to the average of 28 centimetres is pretty significant."

"We are not exactly sure why it is so high but we are going to keep monitoring year to year. It is concerning. I mean for the most part we want to have information so we can give it to homeowners, people that are considering building close to the shore, just to have an accurate idea of how much is being lost every year."  

Coastal erosion on P.E.I. has been tracked in the past by comparing aerial photographic surveys, taken every ten years by the provincial government.

But in order to  provide new data, the UPEI Climate Research Lab established more than 100 measuring sites across the province. They have driven marker pins into the ground to measure erosion from year to year. 

MacDonald notes that of the sites measured this year, "about nine had no change at all, while five sites had losses of over two metres, including sites at Governor's Island, Naufrage Lighthouse, Panmure Island, Seaview, and the Wood Islands Lighthouse." 

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