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Tidal marshes as disequilibrium landscapes? Lags between morphology and Holocene sea level change

Geophysical Research Letters

7030_Kirwan.pdf
By:
and
DOI: 10.1029/2008GL036050

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Abstract

Historical acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise and recent observations of marsh degradation highlight the importance of understanding how marshes respond to sea level change. Here, we use an existing numerical model to demonstrate that marsh morphology, and its effect on biological productivity and vertical accretion, could lag century-scale sea level rise rate oscillations by several decades. This suggests that marshes, and perhaps other intertidal environments, have not been in equilibrium with Holocene sea level. Additional results suggest that marshes have not yet fully responded to historical sea level acceleration. Consequently, marshes today may be out of equilibrium with modern rates of sea level rise, and further adjustment in the form of platform deepening and channel erosion could be expected. Under an accelerating sea level rise rate, the morphology and productivity of marshland will reflect environmental conditions of the past, and studies of marshes today will underestimate their response to sea level rise.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Tidal marshes as disequilibrium landscapes? Lags between morphology and Holocene sea level change
Series title:
Geophysical Research Letters
DOI:
10.1029/2008GL036050
Volume
35
Issue:
L24401
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
1-5
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geophysical Research Letters
First page:
1
Last page:
5