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East coast storms signal effects of climate change, weather expert says Add to ...

Weather experts say New Brunswick is already experiencing the punishing realities of climate change, particularly rising sea levels and damaging storm surges.

Recent storms have caused more than $50-million in damage and untold grief for home and cottage owners and coastal expect Robert Capozi warns floods and surges are a fact of life under the new "coastal realities" dictated by the earth's changing climate.

Dr. Capozi, coastal and marine planner for the provincial Department of Environment, says a sea level rise is occurring and it's projected to reach as high as 20 centimetres along the province's eastern coast over the next 100 years.

He says the problem of a rising sea level is compounded by the impact of more severe and more frequent storms and a sinking coast line.

Vicious wind, rain and snowstorms this month caused flooding in southern New Brunswick from the Bay of Fundy and streams, rivers and lakes.

On the province's eastern coast, along the Northumberland Strait, a higher-than-usual tide was whipped by 100-kilometre winds into a storm surge that wiped out dunes, beaches and severely damaged wharfs.

According to a recent Environment Canada report, since the Saxby Gale in 1869, the sea level in the Atlantic region has risen more than 30 centimetres.

By 2100, the sea level at the head of the Bay of Fundy will rise another 80 centimetres, with nearly 50 centimetres due to the rise of oceans worldwide, and the remainder because the crust of the Atlantic region is slowly sinking.

Environment Canada has warned that rising sea levels will amplify storm surges and flooding throughout Atlantic Canada.

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