China's Lin Qu scored 341.25 points to win the gold in what was virtually a three-way tie for the lead going into the fifth and final dive. Italy's Tania Cagnotto, who was less than two points ahead of Abel after four dives, claimed second with 341.05. The 23-year-old Abel, from Laval, Que., struggled on her final dive to score 336.30.
"I'm a little disappointed with my last dive," Abel said. "It's a dive I've recently added to my list and I can certainly improve upon it.
"Overall it went very well. The start of the season is always a bit harder for me but today it went the way I wanted."
Pamela Ware of Beloeil, Que., was sixth.
Abel's bronze was Canada's second medal of the event after Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal took gold on 10-metre tower Friday.