Cape Breton – Cape Brept is a place where people live and work, and where climate change is an issue.
The island has seen a steady rise in sea level and has experienced the effects of the El Niño event, a warm ocean weather pattern.
This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement warning of the threat of sea level rise as the planet warms.
“Sea level rise is occurring, and is projected to continue, as a result of anthropogenic climate change, including the greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels,” the statement read.
In fact, the island is on track to be the sixth most affected area in the U.S. by sea level by 2060.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“We’ve got Cape Brets very rapidly melting into the sea.
The average rate of land melting in the last few years has been around 20 percent per year,” said Rob Wainwright, a researcher with the University of Cape Breps Marine Laboratory, which is conducting a major research program in Cape Brect’s North Sea.
Cape Bret Island is part of the British Virgin Islands, but it is not in British jurisdiction.
Its landmass covers more than one-third of the island’s coastline and is the world’s fourth-largest coral reef.
The region is also home to one of the worlds largest coral colonies, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
While there are signs of progress, scientists still aren’t sure what’s to come.
“The impact of sea-level rise on coral reefs is one of those things that’s not known.
We’re going to see some of that,” said Wainwrights research associate, Mike Glynne.
The study, called “The Long-Term Impact of Climate-Driven Coastal Losses on Coastal Canyons and Reefs,” is part from the UBMC, which also includes research into ocean acidification, sea ice cover and storm surge.
Glynnes research shows that the loss of sea ice in the western Gulf of Mexico could increase the amount of ocean heat that can rise.
The research shows an average of 6.3 inches of sea water is lost each year to the ocean in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, according to Glynns work.
While it’s possible that some of those heat will escape into the atmosphere, scientists say it’s unlikely.
“It’s very unlikely that we will see an increase in sea levels due to climate change because of any of the impacts we’re seeing in the coastal regions,” said Glynnedys study co-author, Daniel J. Leibold.
The UBmc study also found that, for every square mile of land that is lost due to sea level rises, there are about two square miles of additional land in the Atlantic Ocean, with an area equivalent to that of the entire state of Massachusetts.
That means there is a 5 percent chance of sea levels rising by 2080 if the global warming trend continues.
“If we’re not going to slow climate change down and keep warming the planet, we’re going get into some of these bigger storms that will cause more flooding,” said Jules Leiberman, a UB professor of marine and coastal studies.
The impact of climate change has already been felt in the Caribbean.
In 2012, a hurricane hit the island of Barbuda, killing more than 300 people and leaving a million stranded.
Barbuda and the U, Virgin Islands were among the first countries to declare an emergency after the hurricane, and have since implemented stricter environmental policies and stricter coastal protection.
Leibermans work with Glynndes has led to research into how climate change impacts coral reefs, and the results are not encouraging.
“What we’re doing is trying to understand what the long-term impacts are going to be on coral reef reefs, what are the long term effects on coral, what impact it is on corals,” Leibermann said.
In a report published in 2016, the UBC study showed that coastal erosion is likely to increase by a quarter by the year 2100, which could increase ocean acidity by a factor of 10.2.
That could make the reef more susceptible to storm surges and coastal flooding.
“Coral reefs have been in trouble for a long time.
They’ve been in a kind of decline over the past couple decades.
But what we’re starting to see now is they’re beginning to recover, but at the expense of the sea,” said Leibermons study coauthor, Jennifer J. Johnson.
“And so it’s important that we keep monitoring what the effects are going on in these reefs, to see how we can manage them, and if they can adapt to these changes.”
The report also found coral bleaching is increasing, and that coral bleached areas are more susceptible and more vulnerable to acidification.
“In other words, if the coral