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Salt marsh resilience to sea-level rise and increased storm intensity

Pannozzo, N, Leonardi, N, Carnacina, I and Smedley, R (2021) Salt marsh resilience to sea-level rise and increased storm intensity. Geomorphology. ISSN 0169-555X

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Salt marshes are important ecosystems but their resilience to sea-level rise and possible increases in storm intensity is largely uncertain. The current paradigm is that a positive sediment budget supports the survival and accretion of salt marshes while sediment deprivation causes marsh degradation. However, few studies have investigated the combined impact of sea-level rise and increased storm intensity on the sediment budget of a salt marsh. This study investigates marsh resilience under the combined impact of various storm surge (0 m, 0.25 m, 0.5 m, 1.0 m, 2.0 m, 3.0 m and 4.0 m) and sea-level (+0 m, +0.3 m, +0.5 m, +0.8 m and + 1.0 m) scenarios by using a sediment budget approach and the hydrodynamic model Delft3D. The Ribble Estuary, North-West England, whose salt marshes have been anthropogenically restored and have a high economic and environmental value, has been chosen as test case. We conclude that storm surges can positively contribute to the resilience of the salt marsh and estuarine system by promoting flood dominance and by triggering a net import of sediment. Conversely, sea-level rise can threaten the stability of the marsh by promoting ebb dominance and triggering a net export of sediment. Our results suggest that storm surges have a general tendency to counteract the decrease in sediment budget caused by sea-level rise. The timing of the storm surge relative to high or low tide, the duration of the surge, the change in tidal range and vegetation presence can also cause minor changes in the sediment budget.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0403 Geology, 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2021 12:09
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2022 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2021.107825
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15114
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