2019 Beaches Conference Concurrent 3 Long Descriptions – Sea Level Rise
The causes of Sea Level Rise (SLR) are seemingly simple and yet the issue is almost incomprehensible to digest. Join this session to gain an understanding of the data behind as well as the present realities of High Tide Flooding, Storm Surge Height, as well as the need and challenges of SLR Adaptation.
Sea level rise is a global occurrence with direct implications for coastal communities and ecosystems. Recent scientific research delves into the drivers of sea level rise and presents updated projections for future global and regional sea level rise scenarios. These projections aren’t simply tools for long-range planning, they also help explain where and when high tide flooding will become a frequent occurrence. This presentation will provide a brief overview of this research, and will introduce a variety of tools that coastal communities use to better prepare for high tide flooding.
I Found Sand in my Peat! Back Barrier Salt Marshes as a Geological Archive of Storm Activity. Coastal communities in New England are largely threatened by 1) increased rates of relative sea level rise, which exaggerates storm surge height, and 2) heightened Nor’easter intensity, which is likely fueled, in part, by higher ocean surface temperatures and air temperatures in the North Atlantic and Arctic. The study of past storm activity through the application of geological evidence, formally known as paleotempestology, provides an important prehistoric perspective of storm frequency and intensity for a locality or region. Large landfalling storms can result in overwash sands deposited in low-energy back barrier salt marsh systems and are preserved by natural marsh processes (i.e. vertical accretion). The extent of the prehistoric activity captured is restricted to salt marsh peat thickness (i.e. age; ~4-5,000 years in southern Maine) and coastal morphological factors (e.g. sediment source, past barrier beach movement). Multiple sand deposits have been identified from salt marsh cores in Wells, ME and provide an insight to past storm activity for the region. Additional research is needed to correlate these deposits with previously identified storm deposits in other parts of New England (e.g. Massachusetts, Rhode Island).
In this session, attendees will gain an understanding of the critical need for coastal adaptation and planning in the years ahead. Built on a foundation of scientific evidence, recent history and innovative thinking, this session will propose a map for future adaptation to the great challenges posed by rising seas.