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Weather conditions on Quadra and Clavert Island

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1932 to 2015 - Hakai Institute

1932 to 2015

Historical air photos are powerful tools to see how the coast has changed over time.

We can learn a lot from historical images. Beginning in the 1920s, aerial photos were taken from planes to inventory resources, for urban planning, or to develop wartime infrastructure. Now, these photographs are helping researchers track changes to coastal ecosystems over time.

The Hakai geospatial technology team has recently been gathering historical air photos from along the British Columbia coast. The latest find was a set of photos from 1932 that cover much of the western side of Calvert Island and other areas of the Central Coast region.

Some of these photos have been matched to known locations for comparison of past and present conditions. Below are a few examples of what the coast looked like from the air in 1932 compared to today.

A seagrass bed in Choked Passage on the northwest part of Calvert Island in 1932 (left) and 2015 (right). Note the changes in the extent of the seagrass bed between years.


6th Beach on Calvert Island in 1932 (left) and 2015 (right). These images can be used to better understand sand dune dynamics over the years.


An exposed sediment bank on 3 Mile Beach in 1932 (left). A survey image from 2012 (right) shows that the area has since been re-vegetated.


We have found imagery from 1932 for most of the west side of Calvert Island as well as other sections of the Central Coast and Quadra Island. The red boxes indicates the locations of the examples shown above. The 1932 images of Calvert Island were taken at a high tide with very clear ocean conditions. It appeared to be a rather dry season based on the prevalence of dried up marshes. Resolution of the images is between 0.7 and 1.1 meters.

We are currently gathering historical air photos from other time periods that cover the B.C. Central Coast and Quadra Island study regions. If you are interested in attaining any of the images contained in this blog, please contact data@hakai.org

Thank you to Felipe Gomez from the Coastal Erosion and Dune Dynamics Lab for assisting us in attaining the historical imagery through the University of Victoria library.