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Morphodynamics of Barrier Response to Sea-Level Rise

  • Andrew D. Ashton
  • Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba
Chapter

Abstract

Barrier response to sea-level rise involves a dynamic interplay between the shoreface and the subaerial portion affected by overwashing. Focusing on feedbacks between these two, here we discuss a morphodynamic approach to modeling barrier transgression. In contrast with the steady transgression portrayed by morphokinematic models (which transport mass based on geometric considerations), a simple morphodynamic model predicts two modes of long-term barrier failure: width and height drowning. For barriers that survive sea-level rise, a most likely mode of barrier motion consists of punctuated and abrupt periodic transgression of the shelf, which can arise even from constant driving conditions. These intermittently migrational barriers spend most of their existence staying essentially in place, a stark contrast to the continuous behavior suggested by morphokinematic models of barrier retreat. Even small perturbations to a barrier system traversing the shelf in dynamic equilibrium can kick-start an oscillating retreat. Looking alongshore, shoreline interconnectivity can have a significant effect on shoreline behavior across both space and time. Overall, our morphodynamic modeling results motivate a need to investigate the internal dynamics of barrier systems to understand the full range of past and potential future response of barrier systems to sea-level rise.

Keywords

Barrier rollover Overwash Shoreface Width drowning Height drowning Periodic retreat Dynamic equilibrium Alongshore connectivity Alongshore transport Moving boundary 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by National Science Foundation grants CNH-0815875 and CNH-85850300, as well as Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program grant RC-1702. We thank Alejandra Ortiz, Jaap Nienhuis, and Daniel Ciarletta for thoughtful conversations. The manuscript was improved by thoughtful reviews from Peter Ruggiero and an anonymous reviewer. We also thank the editors of the book for their thoughtful input and patience.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental StudiesMontclair State UniversityMontclairUSA

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