Visualizing climatic and non-climatic drivers of coastline change in the Town of Lincoln, Ontario, Canada
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Increased urbanization leads to greater anthropogenic stresses of coastal zones. Threats faced by coastal communities, such as natural hazards, are being exacerbated with changing environmental and climatic conditions. Many studies have measured coastline change; however, they fail to address non-climatic drivers, such as land use changes. The enclosed research included three separate but complementary articles to examine climatic and non-climatic drivers of change for the Lake Ontario coastline in the Town of Lincoln, Ontario. In the first article, a novel approach combining a coastline change analysis using historical aerial photographs in a geographic information system with the exploration of climatic and non-climatic drivers of change was developed. The novel approach will be useful for planners and residents in understanding factors that drive coastline erosion. In the second article, this methodology was applied to the Town of Lincoln. The case study identified vulnerable areas of the coastline and included a narrative of how certain drivers may have contributed to the erosion. The results suggested that Lincoln has erosion issues, largely concentrated in four main areas, with rates of erosion between 0.32 and 0.66 m/yr over an 84-year period. Between 1934 and 2018, the Town of Lincoln lost approximately 30 hectares of land, a fiscal loss of approximately $1M. The east side of Lincoln has shown more erosion due to many interacting drivers, such as the orientation of the coast, the sandier substrate, and the proximity of the highway constructed in the late 1930s. There are many barriers to climate change adaptation, including a general lack of understanding of how climate change may impact communities directly. The third article explored the utility of visualizations as a tool for science communication. Visualizing the impacts of climate change may be an important tool to help cities, regions, and countries prioritize adaptation. Replication of the methodology in an area such as the Great Lakes may produce a more comprehensive understanding of whether erosion is driven primarily by climatic or non-climatic factors. This can advance our understanding of coastline change and coastal vulnerability, as understanding the current state is essential before imagining a more sustainable future.