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The evolution of natural and developed barriers under accelerating sea levels

April 15, 2023

Communities residing on barrier islands depend upon the ability of barriers to withstand forcings such as waves, sea-level rise, and storms, particularly under stresses from climate change. Using a barrier island evolution model, we compare barrier response to linear versus accelerating sea-level rise. Results suggest that barriers are more likely to drown under accelerating rather than linear sea-level rise. The dominant style of barrier drowning also shifts from width drowning to height drowning. When our model of barrier evolution is coupled with a myopic economic decision-making model for beach nourishment and managed retreat, the general coastal management behavior is unchanged. However, the timing and position at which interventions are made differ. Therefore, decisions based on the assumption of constant sea-level rise rates rather than increasing rates may result in actions that are detrimental to communities and potentially reduce the barrier’s ability to maintain its subaerial landform.

Publication Year 2023
Title The evolution of natural and developed barriers under accelerating sea levels
DOI 10.1142/9789811275135_0008
Authors Rose Elizabeth Palermo, Andrew D. Ashton, Di Jin, Porter Hoagland, Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70238952
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center