Title
Coastal marsh response to historical and future sea-level acceleration Coastal marsh response to historical and future sea-level acceleration
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Quaternary science reviews
Volume/pages
28(2009) :17/18 , p. 1801-1808
ISSN
0277-3791
ISI
000269088900018
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
We consider the response of marshland to accelerations in the rate of sea-level rise by utilizing two previously described numerical models of marsh elevation. In a model designed for the Scheldt Estuary (BelgiumSW Netherlands), a feedback between inundation depth and suspended sediment concentrations allows marshes to quickly adjust their elevation to a change in sea-level rise rate. In a model designed for the North Inlet Estuary (South Carolina), a feedback between inundation and vegetation growth allows similar adjustment. Although the models differ in their approach, we find that they predict surprisingly similar responses to sea-level change. Marsh elevations adjust to a step change in the rate of sea-level rise in about 100 years. In the case of a continuous acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise, modeled accretion rates lag behind sea-level rise rates by about 20 years, and never obtain equilibrium. Regardless of the style of acceleration, the models predict approximately 614 cm of marsh submergence in response to historical sea-level acceleration, and 34 cm of marsh submergence in response to a projected scenario of sea-level rise over the next century. While marshes already low in the tidal frame would be susceptible to these depth changes, our modeling results suggest that factors other than historical sea-level acceleration are more important for observations of degradation in most marshes today.
E-info
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