The expected rise in sea level, caused by melting glaciers and the expansion of ocean waters as they warm, will affect parts of coastal British Columbia, particularly in the Fraser Delta and portions of Vancouver, Victoria and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The heavily populated Fraser Delta is one of the most vulnerable regions on the Pacific Coast since parts of the lowlands already sit below sea level and are protected from flooding by an extensive dyke system. Rising seas could drown tidal marshes, havens for waterfowl, shorebirds and salmon fry. They could also flood prime farmland, industrial and residential urban areas. The intrusion of salt water would affect groundwater supplies.
Climatologists predict that winters in coastal British Columbia will be wetter and stormier. In a region defined by mountains, that means unstable slopes and more frequent landslides. Heavy rains can unleash “debris flows,” a sodden mixture of mud, gravel and boulders barrelling down steep mountain stream courses. In November 2006, torrential rains washed silt into Greater Vancouver’s water supply, making tap water murky and undrinkable for about two million residents.
The "Global glacial changes" Flash animation is a slide show. The first image, "Mountain glacier changes since 1970," is an animated world map. Coloured circles flash in different locations to indicate some thickening (deep to light blue circles), but mostly thinning (yellow to red circles) around the globe, indicating changes to mountain glaciers. Further images start to play aften an initial click, and show images of various glaciers that have shrunk.