Assumptions of a static landscape inspire predictions that about half of the world’s coastal wetlands will submerge during this century in response to sea‐level acceleration. In contrast, we use simulations from five numerical models to quantify the conditions under which ecogeomorphic feedbacks allow coastal wetlands to adapt to projected changes in sea level. In contrast to previous sea‐level assessments, we find that non‐linear feedbacks among inundation, plant growth, organic matter accretion, and sediment deposition, allow marshes to survive conservative projections of sealevel rise where suspended sediment concentrations are greater than ∼20 mg/L. Under scenarios of more rapid sea‐level rise (e.g., those that include ice sheet melting), marshes will likely submerge near the end of the 21st century. Our results emphasize that in areas of rapid geomorphic change, predicting the response of ecosystems to climate change requires consideration of the ability of biological processes tomodify their physical environment.

Limits on the adaptability of coastal marshes to rising sea level

D'ALPAOS, ANDREA;
2010

Abstract

Assumptions of a static landscape inspire predictions that about half of the world’s coastal wetlands will submerge during this century in response to sea‐level acceleration. In contrast, we use simulations from five numerical models to quantify the conditions under which ecogeomorphic feedbacks allow coastal wetlands to adapt to projected changes in sea level. In contrast to previous sea‐level assessments, we find that non‐linear feedbacks among inundation, plant growth, organic matter accretion, and sediment deposition, allow marshes to survive conservative projections of sealevel rise where suspended sediment concentrations are greater than ∼20 mg/L. Under scenarios of more rapid sea‐level rise (e.g., those that include ice sheet melting), marshes will likely submerge near the end of the 21st century. Our results emphasize that in areas of rapid geomorphic change, predicting the response of ecosystems to climate change requires consideration of the ability of biological processes tomodify their physical environment.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Kirwan_et_aj_2010_GRL_2010GL045489.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Published (publisher's version)
Licenza: Accesso libero
Dimensione 302.59 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
302.59 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/2423996
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 589
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 556
social impact