Potential increase in coastal wetland vulnerability to sea-level rise suggested by considering hydrodynamic attenuation effects

José F. Rodríguez*, Patricia M. Saco, Steven Sandi, Neil Saintilan, Gerardo Riccardi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    44 Citations (Scopus)
    11 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The future of coastal wetlands and their ecological value depend on their capacity to adapt to the interacting effects of human impacts and sea-level rise. Even though extensive wetland loss due to submergence is a possible scenario, its magnitude is highly uncertain due to limited understanding of hydrodynamic and bio-geomorphic interactions over time. In particular, the effect of man-made drainage modifications on hydrodynamic attenuation and consequent wetland evolution is poorly understood. Predictions are further complicated by the presence of a number of vegetation types that change over time and also contribute to flow attenuation. Here, we show that flow attenuation affects wetland vegetation by modifying its wetting-drying regime and inundation depth, increasing its vulnerability to sea-level rise. Our simulations for an Australian subtropical wetland predict much faster wetland loss than commonly used models that do not consider flow attenuation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number16094
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalNature Communications
    Volume8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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