Glossary of Terms

Allowance
Vertical distance that coastal infrastructure (I.E. a building or Wharf) needs to be raised under a rising sea level so that the present likelihood of flooding does not increase. In other words, any asset raised by this allowance would experience the same frequency of flooding events under sea level rise as it would without the allowance and without sea level rise. It is important to note that the allowances only relate to inundation, and not erosion of soft shorelines, or impacts associated with this erosion.
AR5
The Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.
CurWaveSummer
Maximum wave height during the summer in the current climate
CurWaveWinter
Maximum wave height during the winter in the current climate
DFO
Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Fetch
The distance along open water over which the wind blows
GPS
Global Positioning System. In the CAN-EWLAT application, GPS is used to measure the vertical movement (up/down in millimetres per year) of the Earth’s crust over time.
IPCC
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
MRSL projections
Relative sea level (RSL) is defined as sea level measured with respect to land. Mean RSL is defined as RSL at a given location averaged over a period of one year. A projection is a potential future evolution of a quantity or set of quantities, often computed with the aid of a model. Unlike predictions, projections are conditional on assumptions concerning, for example, future socioeconomic and technological developments that may or may not be realized.
ProjectedWaveSum
Maximum wave height during the summer in the projected future climate
ProjectedWaveWin
Maximum wave height during the winter in the projected future climate
RCPs
Representative Concentration Pathways. RCPs are concentration pathways used in the IPCC AR5. They are prescribed pathways for greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations, together with land use change, that are consistent with a set of broad climate outcomes used by the climate modelling community. The pathways are characterised by the radiative forcing produced by the end of the 21st century. Radiative forcing is the extra heat the lower atmosphere will retain as a result of additional greenhouse gases, measured in Watts per square metre (W/m²). Four RCPs scenarios have been designed for the AR5 and in CAN-EWLAT we are using two of these, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. For more details, please refer to the AR5 report directly.
RCP4.5
This is a medium climate change scenario in which the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will reach a peak of 650 parts per million by 2100 and stabilize after that. This will result in an additional radiative forcing at 4.5 W/m2 around 2100.
RCP8.5
This is a high climate change scenario in which the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will reach a peak of 1370 parts per million by 2100 and will continue increasing after that. This will result in an additional radiative forcing at 8.5 W/m2 around 2100.
SCH
Small Craft Harbours, a sector of the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Storm Surge
The positive or negative difference in sea level from the predicted astronomical tide, due to the forces of the atmosphere. The two main atmospheric components that contribute to storm surge are air pressure and wind. Deep low-pressure systems can create a dome of water under the storm (much like the low pressure under a vacuum on a carpet). High winds along a coastline can also elevate the water levels at the shore, depending on the direction of the wind with respect to the coast. For powerful storms like hurricanes, the abnormally high water levels are due mostly to the high winds and high waves at the coast.
Storm Tide
The combined effect of storm surge and tides.
Tide
The rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth.
TG
Tide Gauges are installed by the Canadian Hydrographic Service to collect water levels against a vertical reference.
Wave Climate
In CAN-EWLAT, this is defined as the monthly average wave height for a specified time period.