Divergence of Sediment Fluxes Triggered by Sea-Level Rise Will Reshape Coastal Bays

TitleDivergence of Sediment Fluxes Triggered by Sea-Level Rise Will Reshape Coastal Bays
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsZhang X, Leonardi N, Donatelli C, Fagherazzi S
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Keywordsbed composition; numerical modeling; salt marsh; sea-level rise; sediment budget; tidal flats

Sediment budget and sediment availability are direct metrics for evaluating the resilience of coastal bays to sea-level rise (SLR). Here we use a high-resolution numerical model of a tidally dominated marsh-lagoon system to explore feedbacks between SLR and sediment dynamics. SLR augments tidal prism and inundation depth, facilitating sediment deposition on the marsh platform. At the same time, our results indicate that SLR enhances ebb-dominated currents and increases sediment resuspension, reducing the sediment-trapping capacity of tidal flats and bays and leading to a negative sediment budget for the entire system. This bimodal distribution of sediments budget trajectories will have a profound impact on the morphology of coastal bays, increasing the difference in elevation between salt marshes and tidal flats and potentially affecting intertidal ecosystems. Our results also clearly indicate that landforms lower with respect to the tidal frame are more affected by SLR than salt marshes.

Citation Keyzhang_divergence_2020