* Photo supplied. Discovery: Shipwreck veteran Teddy Tucker is pictured at the roots of one of Bermuda’s drowned forests which will help to determine the rate of rising sea levels.
* Photo supplied. Discovery: Shipwreck veteran Teddy Tucker is pictured at the roots of one of Bermuda’s drowned forests which will help to determine the rate of rising sea levels.
For more than eight years Bermuda and Canada have been working closely together to examine the impact of rising sea levels on coastal areas.

Marine scientist Steve Blasco is in Bermuda this week to conduct further research and says Bermuda's findings are crucial in terms of their implications for the rest of the world - Canada in particular.

"Bermuda is only two hours south of Nova Scotia and both places are subject to the North Atlantic Ocean," Mr. Blasco explained.

"What we find here in Bermuda is similar to our Canadian findings, which makes us more confident of what we have discovered in Nova Scotia."

The project is funded by the Canadian government, the Bermuda Aquarium and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI).

"Rising sea levels will affect coastal development, so countries have to plan for the future," Mr. Blasco explained. "Each country has to do its own evaluation and then put the international results and local results together before they can know how to manage their own scenario.

"As you develop the coastline in the future, you must take climate change into account.

"If you are building a structure by the ocean, you must know your guidelines."

For example, results from Nova Scotia show that 100 years from now there will be a 73cm rise in sea level.

"Canada is worse off in terms of rising sea levels than Bermuda because they have a problem with the land sinking independently of the sea level rising, which creates a double effect," Mr. Blasco explained.

"The 73cm sea level rise would not apply here in Bermuda."

Some of the local findings he has studied include those from Bermuda's offshore "drowned forests".

Drowned forests are well preserved stumps and logs that used to be trees, rooted in dry land, but found themselves submerged as sea levels rose.

Teddy Tucker identified the first drowned forest in Bermuda many years ago.

Today, there are three known locations from which samples have been collected.

One forest is in 30 feet of water (7,000 years old), another is in 25 feet (6,000 years old) and the third is in four feet of water (1,500 years old).

The samples were then dated and plotted on a time curve, producing a rate of increase for the sea level.

An educational video has been made on the drowned forests and is used as an educational tool in the United States.

Climate change

"Climate change is a difficult issue," Mr. Blasco explained. "Sea levels have been changing for the several thousand years but yet there are a lot of alarmists out there who might say that certain countries will no longer be here in a few hundred years.

"Sea levels are rising at a more rapid rate, but I think it is driven by both mankind and nature and not at the rate that some scientists claim."

He added: "Bermuda is more in sync with the ocean than most countries. Bermudians are more sensitive to the ocean because they are surrounded by it - it's part of Bermuda's economy and life.

"It's easy to conduct work here because the ocean is so accessible."

Mr. Blasco received an Honours Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Engineering Geophysics from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, in 1972.

For the past 25 years he has been employed as a marine engineering geophysicist with the Geological Survey of Canada, at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Environmental consultant Dr. Annie Glasspool authored the Bermuda report titled The Impact of Climate Change on Bermuda, which has been "instrumental" in Mr. Blasco's sea level studies.