Probabilistic Application of an Integrated Catchment-Estuary-Coastal System Model to Assess the Evolution of Inlet-Interrupted Coasts Over the 21st Century

Janaka Bamunawala, Ali Dastgheib, Roshanka Ranasinghe, Ad van der Spek, Shreedhar Maskey, A. Brad Murray, Patrick L. Barnard, Trang Minh Duong, T.A.J.G. Sirisena

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Abstract

Inlet-interrupted sandy coasts are dynamic and complex coastal systems with continuously evolving geomorphological behaviors under the influences of both climate change and human activities. These coastal systems are of great importance to society (e.g., providing habitats, navigation, and recreational activities) and are affected by both oceanic and terrestrial processes. Therefore, the evolution of these inlet-interrupted coasts is better assessed by considering the entirety of the Catchment-Estuary-Coastal (CEC) systems, under plausible future scenarios for climate change and increasing pressures due to population growth and human activities. Such a holistic assessment of the long-term evolution of CEC systems can be achieved via reduced-complexity modeling techniques, which are also ably quantifying the uncertainties associated with the projections due to their lower simulation times. Here, we develop a novel probabilistic modeling framework to quantify the input-driven uncertainties associated with the evolution of CEC systems over the 21st century. In this new approach, probabilistic assessment of the evolution of inlet-interrupted coasts is achieved by (1) probabilistically computing the exchange sediment volume between the inlet-estuary system and its adjacent coast, and (2) distributing the computed sediment volumes along the inlet-interrupted coast. The model is applied at three case study sites: Alsea estuary (United States), Dyfi estuary (United Kingdom), and Kalutara inlet (Sri Lanka). Model results indicate that there are significant uncertainties in projected volume exchange at all the CEC systems (min-max range of 2.0 million cubic meters in 2100 for RCP 8.5), and the uncertainties in these projected volumes illustrate the need for probabilistic modeling approaches to evaluate the long-term evolution of CEC systems. A comparison of 50th percentile probabilistic projections with deterministic estimates shows that the deterministic approach overestimates the sediment volume exchange in 2100 by 15–30% at Alsea and Kalutara estuary systems. Projections of coastline change obtained for the case study sites show that accounting for all key processes governing coastline change along inlet-interrupted coasts in computing coastline change results in projections that are between 20 and 134% greater than the projections that would be obtained if only the Bruun effect were taken into account, underlining the inaccuracies associated with using the Bruun rule at inlet-interrupted coasts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number579203
Number of pages20
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020

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