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Effects of sea-level rise on barrier island groundwater system dynamics: ecohydrological implications

Ecohydrology

By:
, , , , , and
DOI: 10.1002/eco.1442

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Abstract

We used a numerical model to investigate how a barrier island groundwater system responds to increases of up to 60 cm in sea level. We found that a sea-level rise of 20 cm leads to substantial changes in the depth of the water table and the extent and depth of saltwater intrusion, which are key determinants in the establishment, distribution and succession of vegetation assemblages and habitat suitability in barrier islands ecosystems. In our simulations, increases in water-table height in areas with a shallow depth to water (or thin vadose zone) resulted in extensive groundwater inundation of land surface and a thinning of the underlying freshwater lens. We demonstrated the interdependence of the groundwater response to island morphology by evaluating changes at three sites. This interdependence can have a profound effect on ecosystem composition in these fragile coastal landscapes under long-term changing climatic conditions.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of sea-level rise on barrier island groundwater system dynamics: ecohydrological implications
Series title:
Ecohydrology
DOI:
10.1002/eco.1442
Volume
7
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley
Contributing office(s):
Massachusetts Water Science Center
Description:
8 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecohydrology
First page:
1064
Last page:
1071
Country:
United States
State:
Maryl;Virginia
Other Geospatial:
Assateague Island