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Non-linear interactions between sea-level rise, tides, and geomorphic change in the Tamar Estuary, Australia


Palmer, K and Watson, C and Fischer, A, Non-linear interactions between sea-level rise, tides, and geomorphic change in the Tamar Estuary, Australia, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 225 Article 106247. ISSN 0272-7714 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106247


Forecasting the likely impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) within estuaries is especially complicated by the interacting effects of geomorphic change and tidal distortion. The 70 km long kanamaluka1/Tamar Estuary, Australia, provides the setting for a simplified approach to explore the effects of SLR on tidal regime together with evolving estuary morphology. Scenarios of SLR, estuary infill, nodal tide modulation at the mouth, and increased wind speed are applied within a hydrodynamic model. The potential for amplified tidal range with SLR versus the damping potential of significant but plausible levels of estuary infill are explored. For this estuary, the simulated infilling had a strong effect on tidal distortion, up to a 57% reduction in tidal range at the estuary head. However, this reduction translates to just a 16% effective reduction in mean high water due to the elevation of mean tide level. Comparatively, SLR had a contrasting effect on tidal distortion, reducing flood tide dominant asymmetry by up to 40% without driving a significant change to the tidal range. The same 57% reduction in tidal range at the estuary head would limit projected SLR by 2100 to current (2018) levels, suggesting potential for mitigating SLR with engineered solutions. The efficient and effective design of mitigation strategies depends on the improved availability and quality of observational data. Data-driven modelling approaches will be essential for managing future coastal flood risk with SLR and ensure long term resilience.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sea-level rise, estuary, geomorphology, tidal range, infill, tidal distortion
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate change models
UTAS Author:Palmer, K (Ms Karen Palmer)
UTAS Author:Watson, C (Dr Christopher Watson)
UTAS Author:Fischer, A (Dr Andy Fischer)
ID Code:136403
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-12-18
Last Modified:2020-04-20

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