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Examples of storm impacts on barrier islands

July 10, 2017

This chapter focuses on the morphologic variability of barrier islands and on the differences in storm response. It describes different types of barrier island response to individual storms, as well as the integrated response of barrier islands to many storms. The chapter considers case study on the Chandeleur Island chain, where a decadal time series of island elevation measurements have documented a wide range of barrier island responses to storms and long-term processes that are representative of barrier island behaviour at many other locations. These islands are low elevation, extremely vulnerable to storms and exhibit a diversity of storm responses. Additionally, this location experiences a moderately high rate of relative sea-level rise, increasing its vulnerability to the combined impacts of storms and long-term erosional processes. Understanding how natural processes, including storm impacts and intervening recovery periods interact with man-made restoration processes is also broadly relevant to understand the natural and human response to future storms.