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The roles of storminess and sea level rise in decadal barrier island evolution

September 13, 2020

Models of alongshore sediment transport during quiescent conditions, storm‐driven barrier island morphology, and poststorm dune recovery are integrated to assess decadal barrier island evolution under scenarios of increased sea levels and variability in storminess (intensity and frequency). Model results indicate barrier island response regimes of keeping pace, narrowing, flattening, deflation (narrowing and flattening), and aggradation. Under lower storminess scenarios, more areas of the island experienced narrowing due to collision. Under higher storminess scenarios, more areas experienced flattening due to overwash and inundation. Both increased sea levels and increased storminess resulted in breaching when the majority of the island was not keeping pace and deflation was the dominant regime due to increased overtopping. Under the highest storminess scenario, the island was unable to recover elevation after storms and drowned in just 10 years.