Sable Island National Park Canada
Created by Storm Silvawalker
Sable Island National Park Reserve
This national park is a small oasis 160 km from nearest land, bearing ESE or 112.5 degrees, 300 km from Halifax Nova Scotia.
The unique animal life of the island and its surrounding waters is one of the park's most important qualities.
One of the unique species of Sable Island is the Ipswich Sparrow. This bird has been found to breed and nest only on the island making it at extreme risk for extinction in any future hostile storms or long winters. Such weather events could kill the few individuals and prevent them from nesting.
The island also has a large population of grey seals, some of which have been found dead with strange spiral shaped bite marks. These distinctive bite marks suggest the presence of the rare Greenland shark which must be a primary predator of the seals in the winter months when the sharks migrate south from around the arctic circle. The Greenland Shark can grow up to 6.4 m long and weigh up to 1000 kg. The island's coasts are also home to over 350 species of sea birds including ducks, shorebirds and sparrows.
Another species living in the waters around the island is the Grey Seal of which more than 10,000 live year-round on the island and surrounding area. These seals are prey animals for both the Greenland and Great White shark.
Sable Island does not have any trees besides the last surviving introduced silver birch tree. This survivor is, however, only a few feet tall. The island is home to many grasses and wild flowers such as the blue-flag iris. These grasses are the only food source for the wild horses and some insects that live on the island.
Precipitation Increase (%)
Spring +2.0 to +21.0
Summer -29.0 to +12.0
Fall -7.0 to +12.0
Winter +9.0 to +15.0
Spring +3.0 to 4.0
Summer +2.0 to 4.0
Fall +2.0 to 3.0
Winter +2.0 to 5.0
Sable Island is constantly in great danger due to climate change due to its fragile environment, small size and distance from a large land mass.
Increased Sea Levels
If the sea level were to rise due to melting ice sheets then the island may cease to exist. This is because the island is only a few meters above sea level meaning that any increase would drastically decrease the island's size, and if it lost enough size then the erosion from the ocean would not be made up for by sand deposition, in effect turning the island into a simple shallow sand bar. In this scenario none of its land dwelling species would survive. Its vast areas of grasses would die leaving no food for any horses which managed to survive the loss of land on which to live. Also the Grey Seals would not be able to reproduce on vanished shores, and their entire population would have to move elsewhere due to their dependence on the land.
Increased Maritime Weather
Due to the theorized higher sea levels and warmer water that climate change would bring, the amount of evaporation in warmer water would increase therefore causing an increase in precipitation whenthe air cools. If there were to be more frequent powerful storms near the island, the island could either be destroyed or moved. The island could be destroyed completely by more powerful and frequent storms because of its small size and fragile sandy composition. The island could also be moved again because of its existence as a sand bar formed by the shifting and deposition of sand. It is because of this fragile existence that if the sands were to be shifted by powerful shifting ocean currents and bad weather, the island could be moved as a beach sand bar can shift day to day, destroying its grasses and thence its iconic land based species, the wild horses.
If the Labrador Current or the Gulf Stream were to change course due to climate change, Sable Island would be at great risk because of its position in a region separating the two. This position magnifies the effect of any current's course change to the island. For example if either current were to change course, the phytoplankton and therefore zooplankton blooms would be lessened in the area greatly reducing the populations of predators they feed in the area. In the case of cod, their numbers would be greatly lessened and since the Grey Seals rely on the cod, the Grey Seals would be forced from the area, taking large amounts of the local oceanic ecosystem with them.
The wild horses of Sable Island are now a somewhat controversial invasive species to the island because of their iconic standing with visitors to the island. The wild horses of the island were introduced by Europeans in the 1600's and 1700's along with many other sorts of farming animals such as pigs and cows during many unsuccessful attempts to settle the island. Today the only surviving remnant of these attempted settlements is the horse population. The horses are controversial in that they are a harmful invasive species to the island because they trample and eat natural vegetation and bird nests. Some argue that they should remove the horses to allow for a more pristine natural environment to form.
The Secret Life of Plankton