Cambie Street bridge pillars marked for where the sea level will rise over the years

Sea level rise

Sea level rise is caused by the ocean expanding as it heats up due to global warming and as major stores of ice from glaciers and ice sheets melt.

Around the world, sea level rise and flood-related events are causing billions of dollars in damage. Cities are responding with efforts to enhance their communities’ resilience to flooding. Vancouver is planning for this now, to prevent impacts of major catastrophes and to avoid major costs down the road.

What we're expecting

Vancouver's sea levels are expected to rise 1 meter within the next 100 years.
Predicted sea level rise from 2000 - 2100.

Source: Province of BC's draft guidelines on flood management under a changing climate and a primer on sea level rise (1.4 MB)

Map of sea levels, 2016 and 2100, if no adaptation measures are implemented

Sea level image showing 2016 conditions Projected sea level rise during extreme storm in 2100

Legend

Downtown

English Bay

Kits Beach

Airport

PNE

Stanley Park

UBC

What we're doing to respond to sea level rise

  • We commissioned the Coastal Flood Risk Assessment in order to better understand flooding risk for today and in various future scenario, and to develop and compare preliminary adaptation options
  • In 2014, we updated the Building Bylaw to include floodplain standards and requirements for floodplain areas
  • We have been working with the BC Storm Surge Forecasting Program, which provides storm surge forecasts
  • All new coastline projects are incorporating coastal flood risk information to ensure resilient design
  • We will be asking the public for input on sea level rise response options over the coming year

What you can do

Help fight climate change

Pledge to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and you could win a prize. 

Learn how to enter

Reduce greenhouse gases

Sea level rise is caused by greenhouse gases. 

Learn what programs can help minimize your footprint

What are king tides?

By 2050, our winter high tides will be more like today’s annual king tide.

Be prepared by learning about king tides

How much do you know about sea level rise?

By City of Vancouver

Take our short quiz to test your knowledge.

  • Question one

    By City of Vancouver

    How many meters of sea level rise are we planning for by 2100?

  • Answer one

    By City of Vancouver

    We are planning for one meter of sea rise for 2100. The Province of BC provided this projection for local municipalities.

  • Question two

    By City of Vancouver

    Sea level rise is partially caused by the melting of land ice and ice sheets adding water to our oceans. What causes this phenomenon?

  • Answer two

    By City of Vancouver

    High levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, leading to rising air temperatures and the melting of land ice.

  • Question three

    By City of Vancouver

    As the ocean creeps up due to sea level rise, the beach area exposed during low tide will shrink. What is this phenomenon called?

  • Answer three

    By City of Vancouver

    Coastal squeeze. This will result in the loss of habitat of birds, forage fish, mussels, and clams in Vancouver’s shoreline ecosystem.

  • Question four

    By City of Vancouver

    With one meter of sea level rise, how many square kilometres of land in the City of Vancouver will be in the flood plain?

  • Answer four

    By City of Vancouver

    13 square kilometers. This estimate is based on a projected sea level rise of one meter and without flood management interventions.

  • Question five

    By City of Vancouver

    Complete the sentence: The City of Vancouver has a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least __% by the year 2050 through our Renewable City Strategy.

  • Answer five

    By City of Vancouver

    80%. Reducing greenhouse gases will help reduce the amount of sea level rise we will have to adapt to. Learn about the Renewable City Strategy.

  • Question six

    By City of Vancouver

    In 2012, Vancouver City Council adopted which strategy to ensure Vancouver remains vibrant, liveable, and resilient in the face of climate change?

  • Answer six

    By City of Vancouver

    The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. Because sea levels don’t respond instantly to warming, we are committed to a certain amount of continued sea level rise into the future. Learn more about the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

  • Question seven

    By City of Vancouver

    What action(s) can you take reduce individual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions?

  • Answer seven

    By City of Vancouver

    You can compost your food waste, eat more vegetarian meals, insulate your home and reduce energy leaks, and use transit, cycle, or walk more. These are a few ways that you can curb your emissions and help slow sea level rise.

Join us at events around the city

Sea level rise in deep history

Thu, Sep 21, 7:00pm–9:00pm
Simon Fraser University, Centre for Dialogue, Asia Pacific Hall

Water's edge day

Sat, Sep 30, 10:00am–4:00pm
Vanier Park in front of Maritime Museum

Sea level rise and the international response

Thu, Oct 5, 6:30pm–8:00pm
SFU Harbour Centre

Sea level rise and forced migration

Thu, Oct 19, 7:00pm–9:00pm
Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre, Room 1900

Documents

Coastal Flood Risk Assessment background

Draw the line on climate change