Paper Published in Science of The Total Environment

Title: Landcover-based detection of rapid impacts of extreme storm on coastal landscape

Journal: Science of The Total Environment


Abstract: On September 24, 2022, Post-Tropical Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Atlantic Canada and caused unprecedented damages to the coastal communities and ecosystems therein. The aftermath triggered local government and communities in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada to rethink current policies and practices for coastal protection in the context of climate change. This historic hazard represents the escalating frequency and intensity of extreme weather events that globally threaten coastal regions, accelerating coastal erosion and endangering communities. This study employs landcover-based detection to assess rapid storm impact of Fiona on coastline of PEI using Sentinel-2 satellite images, to gauge the efficacy of landcover-based detection and quantify storm-induced coastal environmental changes. Our results indicate that, following Fiona, over 51 km2 coastal land loss due to the erosion at beach foreshore and inundation at tidal flat, and over 11 km2 sand dune loss mainly on the PEI north shore. This constitutes a 3.5 % loss of coastal land resources within the 1798 km2 PEI coastal zone. Fiona also caused over 194 km2 area in coastal buffer zone showed temporal fluid-mud from the eroded sediments of sand dunes, cliffs, and tidal flats, suggesting the significant sediment loss from vertical structures in addition to the direct retreat. The landcover-based method can be regarded as a valuable tool for the storm impacts on coastal environments. Based on the coastal change pattern, more sustainable coastal protection and adaptation measures should be developed, focusing on reducing hydrodynamic intensity and improving erosion capacity, with consideration of the increasing likelihood of more intense and frequent storm events in a warming climate.