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Research Grants

2013 RCGS Studentship in Northern Geography

Genevieve Berard, University of Winnipeg
Application of optical radar remote sensing data to mapping coastal wetlands in subarctic Canada

Mapping coastlines is difficult because of different deposition and erosion rates that cause coastlines to change each year. Wetland vegetation, like that found along Hudson Bay, is a more stable indicator of the shoreline than the actual point where land meets water. Climate change is expected to have greater impacts at the poles than anywhere else on Earth. Thus, being able to map sea level rise and coastal change over time is valuable.

The goal of this research is to use both C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and optical satellite imagery to map the western coast of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Man. These technologies could help address accuracy issues and provide a baseline for coastline change on the targeted portion of Hudson Bay. The work is important because if the port were to become less accessible, Churchill’s economy could be negatively affected. An understanding of sea level rise is also important in mitigating climate change impacts. Better coastal mapping can help Churchill plan for the future, and help Manitoba and Canada’s environmental protection endeavours.  

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