Rapid inundation of the southern Florida coastline despite low relative sea-level rise rates during the late-Holocene

Nature Communications
By: , and 

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Abstract

Sediment cores from Florida Bay, Everglades National Park were examined to determine ecosystem response to relative sea-level rise (RSLR) over the Holocene. High-resolution multiproxy analysis from four sites show freshwater wetlands transitioned to mangrove environments 4–3.6 ka, followed by estuarine environments 3.4–2.8 ka, during a period of enhanced climate variability. We calculate a RSLR rate of 0.67 ± 0.1 mm yr−1 between ~4.2–2.8 ka, 4–6 times lower than current rates. Despite low RSLR rates, the rapid mangrove to estuarine transgression was facilitated by a period of prolonged droughts and frequent storms. These findings suggest that with higher and accelerating RSLR today, enhanced climate variability could further hasten the loss of mangrove-lined coastlines, compounded by the reductions in natural flow to the coast caused by water management. Climate variability is nonlinear, and when superimposed on increases in RSLR, can complicate estimated trajectories of coastal inundation for resource management and urban planning.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Rapid inundation of the southern Florida coastline despite low relative sea-level rise rates during the late-Holocene
Series title Nature Communications
DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11138-4
Volume 10
Issue 1
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center, Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Climate Research and Development, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center
Description 3231, 13 p.
Country Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, United States, Venezuela
State Florida
Other Geospatial Florida Bay