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Combined river runoff & storm surge modelling reuired for some NS communities

My team of Kevin McGuigan, Candace MacDonald, Nathan Parker, Kate Collins and I delivered a preliminary draft report before Christmas to the town of Bridgewater related to their future risks from climate change. The town will use the information for their long term planning process. The main focus of the research is on flood risk and the town is similar to many Nova Scotian communities in that it is located on the LaHave Estuary where the tidal influence of the Atlantic Ocean interacts with the river runoff of the LaHave River. As with other communities like Oxford in Cumberland County, the interaction of the tide and storm surge with the river runoff is complex and requires two types of hydrodynamic models to predict areas at risk of flooding. Our team is using a river runoff model that is driven by the discharge of the LaHave River with a coastal oceanographic model that is driven by tidal and storm surge conditions at the mouth of the LaHave Estuary.

There have been several floods in the past along the LaHave River including a major event in 1956 and again in 2003 that claimed the lives of two elderly people whose car was swept away on Highway number 10 upstream of Bridgewater. The results of the project will allow the town planners to consider flood risk in the future with a changing climate. With this type of information the risk of infrastructure, people and property can be minimized in the future against the threat of flooding.

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(An AGRG tide gauge installed at the wharf at Kraut Point. The survey grade GPS is being used to measure the top of the tide gauge installation so that water levels can be related to our lidar elevation model of the area. We used the tide gauge which measures the water level in the LaHave River to validate our tidal boundary for the hydrodynamic model.)

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