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Barrier Island and Estuary Co-evolution in Response to Holocene Climate and Sea-Level Change: Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks Barrier Islands, North Carolina, USA

  • David Mallinson
  • Stephen Culver
  • Eduardo Leorri
  • Siddhartha Mitra
  • Ryan Mulligan
  • Stanley Riggs
Chapter

Abstract

Barrier islands and associated back-barrier estuaries and lagoons interact via hydrodynamic and sedimentary processes, affecting the evolution of both systems. Understanding coupled dynamic processes between both systems is vital to forecasts of future coastal morphologic and hydrodynamic changes in response to such factors as sea-level rise and storm patterns. The Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks barrier islands of North Carolina, USA have co-evolved in response to Holocene climate and sea-level change, and autogenic processes. Recent data and models illustrate the dynamic response of this system to minor, but rapid, climate changes occurring throughout the Holocene, including the Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age. Periods of extreme barrier segmentation occurred during times of rapid climate change, affecting tidal energy and salinity conditions within the Pamlico Sound. Hydrodynamic models aid in understanding the magnitude of changes, and the impact on barrier morphology. Future changes to coastal systems may be anticipated based upon changes that have occurred in the past.

Keywords

Barrier island Pamlico Sound Outer Banks North Carolina coast Coastal evolution Sea-level rise Climate change Hydrodynamic model Coastal geology Inlets 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the extensive contributions from many graduate and undergraduate students that participated in the acquisition and interpretation of data throughout the study area, over a period of nearly three decades. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Dorothea Ames, Jim Watson, and John Woods. This paper was improved by the reviews of Antonio Rodriguez and an anonymous reviewer. Financial support was provided by NSF OCE-1130843, and the United States Geological Survey pursuant to cooperative agreement 02ERAG0044.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Mallinson
    • 1
  • Stephen Culver
    • 1
  • Eduardo Leorri
    • 1
  • Siddhartha Mitra
    • 1
  • Ryan Mulligan
    • 2
  • Stanley Riggs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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