Reconciling models and measurements of marsh vulnerability to sea level rise

Limnology and Oceanography Letters
By: , and 



Tidal marsh survival in the face of sea level rise (SLR) and declining sediment supply often depends on the ability of marshes to build soil vertically. However, numerical models typically predict survival under rates of SLR that far exceed field-based measurements of vertical accretion. Here, we combine novel measurements from seven U.S. Atlantic Coast marshes and data from 70 additional marshes from around the world to illustrate that—over continental scales—70% of variability in marsh accretion rates can be explained by suspended sediment concentratin (SSC) and spring tidal range (TR). Apparent discrepancies between models and measurements can be explained by differing responses in high marshes and low marshes, the latter of which accretes faster for a given SSC and TR. Together these results help bridge the gap between models and measurements, and reinforce the paradigm that sediment supply is the key determinant of wetland vulnerability at continental scales.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Reconciling models and measurements of marsh vulnerability to sea level rise
Series title Limnology and Oceanography Letters
DOI 10.1002/lol2.10230
Volume 7
Issue 2
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Eastern Ecological Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 140
Last page 149
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