FitzGerald, Duncan M.; Fenster, Michael S.; Argow, Britt A.; Buynevich, Ilya V.
Recent estimates by Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (2007) are that global sea level will rise from 0.18 to 0.59 m by the end of this century. Rising sea level not only inundates low-lying coastal regions, but it also contributes to the redistribution of sediment along sandy coasts. Over the long-term, sea-level rise (SLR) causes barrier islands to migrate landward while conserving mass through offshore and onshore sediment transport. Under these conditions, coastal systems adjust to SLR dynamically while maintaining a characteristic geometry that is unique to a particular coast. Coastal marshes are susceptible to accelerated SLR because their vertical accretion rates are limited and they may drown. As marshes convert to open water, tidal exchange through inlets increases, which leads to sand sequestration on tidal deltas and erosion of adjacent barrier shorelines.