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UPEI Climate Research Lab reports coastal erosion for 2014 greater than anticipated

Prince Edward Island lost an average of 46 centimetres of coastline to the sea in 2014, which is higher than previous years.

Graduate student Andy MacDonald measures erosion at one of more than 100 pinned sites on P.E.I. for a study with the UPEI Climate Research Lab.

These results are from a new study that was conducted by the University of Prince Edward Island’s Climate Research Lab. 

Dr. Adam Fenech, director of the lab, said the findings were unexpected.

“I did not expect this amount of coastal erosion across P.E.I. during this past winter, as no major storm surges impacted our shores.”

“The average loss across the island is 28 centimetres, so to see 46 is quite surprising,” he added.

Coastal erosion has been tracked by comparing aerial photographic surveys of the Island taken every ten years by the provincial government.

To provide new annual data, Fenech’s research team of associates and graduate students established more than 100 measuring sites across the province. They have driven marker pins into the ground from which they can measure erosion each year.

Previous studies led by the Climate Research Lab concluded more than 20 square kilometres of P.E.I. was lost to coastal erosion from 1968 to 2010.

The study showed more than 1,000 coastal homes and cottages across P.E.I. are vulnerable to coastal erosion. As well, 17 lighthouses and six golf courses were found to be at risk.

The study concluded almost 45 kilometres of roads are also vulnerable to coastal erosion on the Island.

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