Assessing the Effects of Sea Level Rise on Plum Island Estuary Marshes Using a Hydrodynamic-marsh Modeling Tool

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Henok Kefelegn Demissie1, Matthew V Bilskie1, Scott C Hagen1, James T Morris2 and Karim Alizad3, (1)Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, United States, (2)University of South Carolina Columbia, Columbia, SC, United States, (3)University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, United States
Sea level rise (SLR) can significantly impact both human and ecological habitats in coastal and inland regions. Studies show that coastal estuaries and marsh systems are at the risk of losing their productivity under increasing rates of SLR (Donnelly and Bertness, 2001; Warren and Niering, 1993). The integrated hydrodynamic-marsh model (Hagen et al., 2013 & Alizad et al., 2015) uses a set of parameters and conditions to simulate tidal flow through the salt marsh of Plum Island Estuary, Massachusetts. The hydrodynamic model computes mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW) and is coupled to the zero-dimensional Marsh Equilibrium Model (Morris et al. 2002) to estimate changes in biomass productivity and accretion.

The coupled hydrodynamic-marsh model was used to examine the effects of different scenarios of SLR (Parris et al., 2012) on salt marsh productivity for the year 2100 in the Plum Island Estuary. In this particular study, responses of salt marsh production for different scenarios of SLR were compared. The study shows higher productivity of salt marsh under a low SLR scenario and lower productivity under the higher SLR. The study also demonstrates the migration of salt marshes under higher SLR scenarios.


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