chapter  15
24 Pages

High-Resolution Elevation and Image Data Within the Bay of Fundy Coastal Zone, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG) is a component of the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) located in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. Its mandate is the application of geomatics technology for environmental research within Maritime Canada. In the fall of 1999 and summer of 2000 a large data acquisition campaign was initiated to collect high-resolution elevation and other remotely sensed image datasets along the Bay of Fundy coastal zone (Figure 15.1 and colour insert following page 164). The purpose of the research was to evaluate their effectiveness in obtaining critical information about the coastal zone, particularly data to be used to assess flood-risk potential associated with storm surge events. Global mean sea level has been increasing between 0.1 and 0.2 meters per century. With increasing greenhouse gases, sea level rise is expected to accelerate and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that global average sea level may increase by 0.09 to 0.88 meters by 2100, placing the lives and property of an estimated 46 million people at risk (Houghton et al., 2001). The Bay of Fundy is no exception: relative sea-level is rising in this region by an estimated rate of 2.5 cm per century and many coastal areas are becoming more susceptible to flooding from storm events (Stea, Forbes, and Mott, 1992). In addition to sea level rise, storm surge and ocean waves are also factors at the coastline and are carried to higher levels on rising mean sea level. Storm surge in general is defined as the algebraic difference between the observed water level and the predicted astronomical level as one would find in tide tables. With possible increased storminess associated with climate change, the next 100 years will probably see more frequent flooding of coastal zones, and an increase in erosion of coastal features. With the recent increase in the spatial resolution of geomatics data available, both multispectral imagery (Ikonos, Quickbird, CASI) and high accuracy elevation data, landuse planners and policy makers now have access to the information required to manage the coastal zone.