The potential for sea-level-rise-induced barrier island loss: Insights from the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, USA

Marine Geology
By: , and 

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Abstract

As sea level rises and hurricanes become more intense, barrier islands around the world become increasingly vulnerable to conversion from self-sustaining migrating landforms to submerging or subaqueous sand bodies. To explore the mechanism by which such state changes occur and to assess the factors leading to island disintegration, we develop a suite of numerical simulations for the Chandeleur Islands in Louisiana, U.S.A., which appear to be on the verge of this transition. Our results suggest that the Chandeleurs are likely poised to change state, leading to their demise, within decades depending on future storm history. Contributing factors include high rates of relative sea level rise, limited sediment supply, muddy substrate, current island position relative to former Mississippi River distributary channels, and the effects of changes in island morphology on sediment transport pathways. Although deltaic barrier islands are most sensitive to disintegration because of their muddy substrate, the importance of relative sea level rise rate in determining the timing of threshold crossing suggests that the conceptual models for deltaic barrier island formation and disintegration may apply more broadly in the future.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The potential for sea-level-rise-induced barrier island loss: Insights from the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, USA
Series title Marine Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.05.022
Volume 355
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier Scientific Pub. Co.
Publisher location Amsterdam
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
First page 244
Last page 259
Country United States
State Louisiana, Mississippi
Other Geospatial North Chandeleur Island