METRO VANCOVUER (NEWS 1130) – Imagine it’s the year 2100 in Metro Vancouver and the shoreline sits well back from where it is today.
New interactive models suggest large parts of the Lower Mainland — including parts of North Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, South Surrey and Pitt Meadows — will be lost as global temperatures rise, if nothing is done to mitigate rising sea levels.
The science and news organization Climate Central has created interactive maps for Canadian cities showing how much more land will be underwater by the year 2100 if average global temperatures rise anywhere from a half to four degrees Celsius.
Worst case scenarios make Stanley Park an island and have salt water stretching as far inland as 184th Street and beyond in South Surrey.
John Clague, an earth sciences professor at SFU, says our oceans are getting an average of 3.3 millimetres higher every year, up from 2 millimetres late last century and the United Nations predicts the world’s oceans will be at least one metre higher by the end of the current century and up to four times that after another 100 years.
“I call it a disaster in slow-mo,” says Clague. “It is really a huge problem. It’s a global problem and the cost of dealing with this or not dealing with it, depending on what happens, is enormous.”
He points to a dire future in Vancouver.
“Metro Vancouver is the most vulnerable urban area in Canada to sea level rise,” he said. “We have about 250,000 people living within about a metre of mean sea level.”
The Paris climate change accord aims to stave off two degrees by the end of the century, but the UN warned last week the world has committed to only one-third of the emissions cuts necessary to meet that goal.