There is an increased awareness of the impact of climate and adaptation for climate change in Prince Edward Island National Park.
Climate change will accelerate coastal processes in an already fragile ecosystem. Changes in the freeze thaw pattern, the number of degree-growing days and changes in the water table are all factors that could potentially impact ecosystems. New forest pests, range expansion, species introductions even changes in season duration may be cause for concern and/or changes in management practices.
A number of current measures that may indicate climate change and/or impact ecological integrity in PEI National Park:
- First plant bloom in forest and wetland ecosystems
- Coastal erosion
- Nearshore ice
- Water level
- Water temperature
As an example, nearshore ice measures the number of days there is an ice foot present on the beach. An ice foot is the pile of ice chunks which stack up on the beach in a continuous line. The presence of the ice foot is very important to the dunes as it protects them from storm driven wind and waves. It also protects the invertebrates living in the sand, as the temperature beneath the foot remains relatively stable unaffected by the thawing and freezing typical of winter. A change in climate patterns for our region, for instance, could affect the length of time these protective ice foots are present along our beaches during the winter months.
Climate change and coastal erosion, PEI National Park