EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Physical-biological interactions limit the resilience of coastal wetlands to sea level rise

Jose Rodriguez1, Angelo Breda1, Patricia Saco1, Steven Sandi1, Neil Saintilan2, and Gerardo Riccardi3
Jose Rodriguez et al.
  • 1Centre for Water Security and Environmental Sustainability and School of Engineering, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia (
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia
  • 3Department of Hydraulics and Research Council of National University of Rosario, Rosario, Argentina

Predictions of the effects of sea-level rise over the next century on coastal wetlands vary widely due to uncertainties on environmental variables, but also due to simplifications on the simulation methodologies used. Here, we investigate how accretion and migration processes affect wetland response to sea level rise (SLR) using a computational framework that includes all relevant hydrodynamic, sediment transport and vegetation dynamics mechanisms that affect wetland evolution, and it is efficient enough computationally to allow the simulation of long time periods. We apply this framework to different settings typically found in coastal wetlands around the world, comprising different vegetation types, different sediment loads, obstructions to flow and drainage structures, both natural and man-made. We find that the vast majority of wetland settings analysed are unable to cope with high SLR rates and disappear before the end of the century. Our findings are consistent with paleo-records that indicate limits on the accretion capacity of coastal wetlands during periods of high SLR rates.

How to cite: Rodriguez, J., Breda, A., Saco, P., Sandi, S., Saintilan, N., and Riccardi, G.: Physical-biological interactions limit the resilience of coastal wetlands to sea level rise, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14219,, 2021.


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