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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

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Limnology and Oceanography



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Accelerating sea-level rise and decreasing riverine sediment supply are widely considered to lead to global losses of deltaic marshes and their valuable ecosystem services. However, little is known about the degree to which the related erosion of the seaward delta front can provide sediments to sustain salt marshes. Here, we present dataf rom the mesomacrotidal Yangtze Delta demonstrating that marshes have continued to accrete vertically and laterally, despite rapid relative sea-level rise (approx.10 mm yr−1) and a > 70% decrease in the Yangtze River sediment supply. Marsh progradation has decelerated at a lower rate than fluvial sediment reduction, suggesting an additional source of sediment. We find that under favorable conditions (e.g., a mesomacrotidal range, strong tidal flow,flood dominance, sedimentary settling lag/scour lag effects, and increasing high-tide level), delta-front erosion can actually supply sediment to marshes, thereby maintaining marsh accretion rates in balance with relative sea-level rise.Comparison of global deltas illustrates that the ability of sediment remobilization to sustain marshes depends on coastal processes and varies by more than an order of magnitude among the world’s major deltas


doi: 10.1002/lno.11432

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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