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Future response of global coastal wetlands to sea level rise

Future response of global coastal wetlands to sea level rise
Future response of global coastal wetlands to sea level rise
The response of coastal wetlands to sea level rise (SLR) during the 21st century remains uncertain. Global-scale projections suggest that between 20% and 90% (for low and high SLR scenarios, respectively) of the present-day coastal wetland area will be lost, including the loss of biodiversity and highly valued ecosystem services1-3. These projections do not necessarily take into account all
essential geomorphological4-7 and socio-economic system feedbacks8. Here we present an integrated global modelling approach that considers (i) the ability of coastal wetlands to build up vertically by sediment accretion and (ii) the accommodation space, namely the vertical and lateral space available for fine sediments to accumulate and to be colonised by wetland vegetation. We use this approach to assess global-scale changes in coastal wetland area in response to global SLR and anthropogenic coastal occupation during the 21st century. Based on our simulations we find that, globally, wetland gains of up to 60% of the current area are expected, if more than 37% of coastal wetlands have sufficient accommodation space, and sediment supply remains at present levels. In contrast to previous studies1-3, we project that until 2100 global coastal wetland loss will range between 0% and 30%, assuming no additional accommodation space. Our simulations suggest that global wetland resilience is primarily driven by the availability of accommodation space, which is strongly influenced by the building of anthropogenic infrastructure in the coastal
zone and its expected to change over the 21st century. Rather than being an inevitableconsequence of global SLR, our findings indicate that large-scale coastal wetland loss might be avoidable, if sufficient additional accommodation space can be created through innovative “nature-based adaptation” solutions to coastal management.
0028-0836
231-234
Schuerch, Mark
e48f9889-d371-486e-af83-fa5037cc3d2d
Spencer, Tom
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Temmerman, Stijn
c15f5553-7f1d-40d0-823d-d9fc91dee270
Kirwan, Matthew L.
7a547d78-0bb5-4400-8796-dd13ac234071
Wolff, Claudia
e1c98db0-156d-49db-9d03-710eb3c96ab6
Lincke, Daniel
8b279c5b-dd6e-46f4-9c8d-adf83f6ea2cd
McOwen, Chris J.
9d6aba47-f51d-4994-9d65-e61e32f83867
Pickering, Mark
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Reef, Ruth
39337149-063c-4d44-9cfc-21db262d0015
Vafeidis, Athanasios
495c5e09-19a6-48c3-ab99-d76710a31584
Hinkel, Jochen
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Nicholls, Robert
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Brown, Sally
dd3c5852-78cc-435a-9846-4f3f540f2840
Schuerch, Mark
e48f9889-d371-486e-af83-fa5037cc3d2d
Spencer, Tom
02477a25-a56d-4619-8ef8-bf367fae92cd
Temmerman, Stijn
c15f5553-7f1d-40d0-823d-d9fc91dee270
Kirwan, Matthew L.
7a547d78-0bb5-4400-8796-dd13ac234071
Wolff, Claudia
e1c98db0-156d-49db-9d03-710eb3c96ab6
Lincke, Daniel
8b279c5b-dd6e-46f4-9c8d-adf83f6ea2cd
McOwen, Chris J.
9d6aba47-f51d-4994-9d65-e61e32f83867
Pickering, Mark
16f3f6fd-4b82-4706-9ff8-c5bb3f5cdee4
Reef, Ruth
39337149-063c-4d44-9cfc-21db262d0015
Vafeidis, Athanasios
495c5e09-19a6-48c3-ab99-d76710a31584
Hinkel, Jochen
9c7e8026-955c-42cd-9179-6113efbf1339
Nicholls, Robert
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Brown, Sally
dd3c5852-78cc-435a-9846-4f3f540f2840

Schuerch, Mark, Spencer, Tom, Temmerman, Stijn, Kirwan, Matthew L., Wolff, Claudia, Lincke, Daniel, McOwen, Chris J., Pickering, Mark, Reef, Ruth, Vafeidis, Athanasios, Hinkel, Jochen, Nicholls, Robert and Brown, Sally (2018) Future response of global coastal wetlands to sea level rise. Nature, 561, 231-234. (doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0476-5).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The response of coastal wetlands to sea level rise (SLR) during the 21st century remains uncertain. Global-scale projections suggest that between 20% and 90% (for low and high SLR scenarios, respectively) of the present-day coastal wetland area will be lost, including the loss of biodiversity and highly valued ecosystem services1-3. These projections do not necessarily take into account all
essential geomorphological4-7 and socio-economic system feedbacks8. Here we present an integrated global modelling approach that considers (i) the ability of coastal wetlands to build up vertically by sediment accretion and (ii) the accommodation space, namely the vertical and lateral space available for fine sediments to accumulate and to be colonised by wetland vegetation. We use this approach to assess global-scale changes in coastal wetland area in response to global SLR and anthropogenic coastal occupation during the 21st century. Based on our simulations we find that, globally, wetland gains of up to 60% of the current area are expected, if more than 37% of coastal wetlands have sufficient accommodation space, and sediment supply remains at present levels. In contrast to previous studies1-3, we project that until 2100 global coastal wetland loss will range between 0% and 30%, assuming no additional accommodation space. Our simulations suggest that global wetland resilience is primarily driven by the availability of accommodation space, which is strongly influenced by the building of anthropogenic infrastructure in the coastal
zone and its expected to change over the 21st century. Rather than being an inevitableconsequence of global SLR, our findings indicate that large-scale coastal wetland loss might be avoidable, if sufficient additional accommodation space can be created through innovative “nature-based adaptation” solutions to coastal management.

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Accepted/In Press date: 25 July 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423845
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423845
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: e091cfb0-6687-46f2-931f-3b34851081d7
ORCID for Robert Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109
ORCID for Sally Brown: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1185-1962

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Date deposited: 02 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 07:00

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Contributors

Author: Mark Schuerch
Author: Tom Spencer
Author: Stijn Temmerman
Author: Matthew L. Kirwan
Author: Claudia Wolff
Author: Daniel Lincke
Author: Chris J. McOwen
Author: Mark Pickering
Author: Ruth Reef
Author: Athanasios Vafeidis
Author: Jochen Hinkel
Author: Robert Nicholls ORCID iD
Author: Sally Brown ORCID iD

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