Meeting:Abstract 2011 CSDMS meeting-074
Characteristic Timescales of Shoreface Response to Sea-Level Rise
[[Image:|300px|right|link=File:]]The response of the wave-dominated coasts to sea-level rise is dominated not by inundation, but rather by the dynamic response of sediment transport processes to perturbations of the sea level. In a regime of sea level change, the predominant response of the wave-dominated shoreface depends upon the time-dependent response of the shoreface itself to changes in sea level as well as the potential changes to the shoreline. Sediment transport processes on the shoreface remain poorly understood, complicating predictions of equilibrium shoreface shapes and even net sediment transport directions. However, presuming an equilibrium geometry, energetics-based, time-averaged relationships for cross-shore sediment transport provide a framework to understand the characteristic rates and types of shoreface response to perturbations to either the sea level or the shoreline boundary. In the case of a sea-level rise, we find that the dominant perturbation for a barrier system is not the sea-level rise itself, but rather the movement of the shoreline by overwash. The characteristic response time of the shoreface itself increases significantly at depth, suggesting that the lower shoreface response to a sea level change can be significantly delayed. To study the interactions between the characteristic timescales of shoreface evolution and barrier overwash, we apply a numerical model of barrier profile evolution that couples shoreface evolution with barrier overwash. This integrated model provides a tool to understand the response of barrier systems to changes in sea level over the late Holocene to the modern. The model also investigates the potential behavior of barrier systems as they (and their human occupants) respond to predicted increased rates of sea-level rise over the coming centuries.