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Monday, April 9 • 11:00am - 11:15am
TERRESTRIAL-AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM INTERACTIONS: Forecasting Sea-level Rise Impacts on Coastal Landscapes

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AUTHORS: Erika E. Lentz*, Sara L. Zeigler, E. Robert Thieler – U.S. Geological Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole, MA; Nathaniel Plant, U.S. Geological Coastal and Marine Science Center, St. Petersburg, FL

ABSTRACT: Sea-level rise (SLR) will result in widespread, variable, and possibly irreversible changes to built and natural coastal environments. Consequently, determining how the landscape will respond to varying amounts or rates of SLR can identify where coastal land is more likely to 1) be lost due to erosion or inundation; or 2) remain stable, and even adapt to future SLR. Through a probabilistic modeling approach, Lentz et al. [Nature Climate Change, doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2957,(2016)] developed a capability to forecast the likelihood that the Northeastern U.S. coast will either inundate or dynamically adapt to SLR under varying scenarios. The approach allowed us to couple known parameters (land cover, relative sea level rise scenarios, and elevation) with less well constrained components (future SLR rates and magnitudes, data uncertainties, tipping points for the response of different land cover types) to generate probabilistic estimates of future regional response at 30x30 m horizontal resolution.Using the predictions of Lentz et al. (2016), we apply uncertainty terminology to define and quantify potential changes in regional land cover state and at 26 sites representing varying levels of land cover diversity through the 2080s. Our results show that by as early as the 2020s, we cannot rule out inundation as a possible outcome for the majority of low-lying, habitable coastal land in the region– 56% of the land area comprised of marshes, beaches, forests, developed areas and rocky coast is as likely as not (P = 0.33 to 0.66) to inundate in response to SLR, increasing to 64% by the 2080s. We also find the near-term SLR resiliency and the rate at which state shifts are likely to occur are correlated with land cover heterogeneity, and alternatively, catastrophic state shifts may be more likely, sooner, in areas with lower diversity, such as heavily developed or urban locations.

Monday April 9, 2018 11:00am - 11:15am CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)

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