Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Limnology and Oceanography Letters
Tidal marsh survival in the face of sea level rise (SLR) anddeclining sediment supply often depends on the ability ofmarshes to build soil vertically. However, numerical models typically predict survival under rates of SLR that farexceedfield-based measurements of vertical accretion. Here, we combine novel measurements from sevenU.S. Atlantic Coast marshes and data from 70 additional marshes from around the world to illustrate that—over con-tinental scales—70% of variability in marsh accretion rates can be explained by suspended sediment concentratin(SSC) and spring tidal range (TR). Apparent discrepancies between models and measurements can be explained bydiffering responses in high marshes and low marshes,the latter of which accretes faster for a given SSC andTR. Together these results help bridge the gap between models and measurements, and reinforce the paradigm thatsediment supply is the key determinant of wetland vulnerability at continental scales.
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Coleman, Daniel J.; Schuerch, Mark; (...); and Kirwan, Matthew L., Reconciling models and measurements of marsh vulnerability to sealevel rise (2022). Limnology and Oceanography Letters.