About the tool

Adapting Nova Scotia (or "AdaptNS") is a web mapping tool that was designed to inform municipalities and residents in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia of present and future potential coastal flood exposure due to climate change and support municipal planning and decision-making.

AdaptNS was created as a means to fill information gaps that rural municipalities were currently facing, and as a complementary information source to other provincial and municipal efforts, such as the Municipal Climate Change Action Plan initiative.

This tool was also designed for citizen engagement. By using AdaptNS, citizens can identify places of concern and share them with others (e.g.: municipalities, other community members), as well as report their own observations of flood and erosion in their communities.

How the tool was made

Following the guidance of the Province of Nova Scotia's Municipal Climate Change Assistant, the maps displayed in this tool were generated using 1 meter resolution Digital Elevation Models ("DEMs"; generated from LiDAR data) and presently available coastal flood estimates of present and future conditions. The closest location to Shelburne County that had these detailed coastal flood estimates is Liverpool, Nova Scotia; as a result, these values were used for creating the maps displayed on AdaptNS.

AdaptNS has 2 different types of information: sea level change and storm surge events during various time frames. These time frames are past (before 2011), present (2011 - 2040), 2050s (2041-2070), 2080s (2071-2100), 2100 (end of the century).

Using the DEMs (bare earth) and the water levels of expected coastal flooding, a series of scenarios were generated. These are specifically the water levels used for generating the maps displayed on AdaptNS (meters CD):
Timeframe Sea Level Rise 10 year-return 25 year-return 50 year-return 100 year-return Extreme storm*
Past 3.01 3.11 3.18 3.25
Present 2.45 3.16 3.26 3.33 3.40 4.11
2050s 2.73 3.44 3.54 3.61 3.68 4.51
2080s 3.13 3.84 3.94 4.01 4.08 5.12
2100 3.36 4.07 4.17 4.24 4.31 5.47
*In this case, the extreme storm scenarios (also known as "plausible upper bound water level") is based on the highest storm surge previously recorded by a tide gauge near Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
** "None of the water level scenarios include wave run-up that could potentially accompany a storm surge event" (MCCAP Assistant, 2011)

The probabilities of occurrence of storm surge returns are as follows:
-10 year return period has a 10% chance of happening any given year
-25 year return period has a 4% chance of happening in any given year
-50 year return period has a 2% chance of happening in any given year
-100 year return period has a 1% chance of happening in any given year
-Extreme return period has less than 1% chance of happening in any given year

Please be aware that the visuals do not account for wave run up, they display a symmetrical rise of water (not affected by wind or other environmental factors) and they are scenarios rather than projections of future conditions. Though there is a level of uncertainty surrounding the results, the Province of Nova Scotia recommends the use of the extreme coastal flood scenario to assess a municipality's risk.

Reports to read in relation to this tool:
Provincial Initiative: Municipal Climate Change Action Plan Assistant
Water Levels and Calculations: Scenarios and Guidance for Adaptation to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

About the developer

Andrea Minano is a geomatics specialist who created AdaptNS while pursuing her Master of Science in Geography degree at the University of Waterloo. She completed her MSc in May 2015 and is currently working as a research assistant at the University of Waterloo. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Feedback & comments

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please email adaptns[at]gmail[dot]com