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The response of tropical Australian estuaries to a sea level rise
Wolanski, E.; Chappell, J. (1996). The response of tropical Australian estuaries to a sea level rise. The coastal ocean in a global change perspective 7(Special Issue 2-4): 267-279
In: Djenidi, S. (Ed.) (1996). The coastal ocean in a global change perspective. Journal of Marine Systems, 7(Special Issue 2-4). Elsevier: Amsterdam. 117-438 pp., more
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article

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  • Wolanski, E., more
  • Chappell, J.

    Estuaries in tropical Australia have a low sediment yield (about 5-20 tonnes km−2 yr−1). The estuaries formed when rising post-glacial sea level invaded coastal valleys 7 to 9000 years ago. Geomorphological and stratigraphic data show that mangrove swamps developed on the flooded plains and in some cases their substrate kept pace with the rising sea level. The bulk of the sediment originated from the sea. When sea level stabilised, 6000 years ago, the flood plains prograded seaward. The channels now are generally stable and in some cases are inherited from the progradation phase. The response of these estuaries to a sea level rise may be inferred both from their evolution during post glacial sea level rise and from hydrodynamics-sedimentological models calibrated against measurements of tidal processes. This was undertaken for Coral Creek, the South Alligator River and the Norman River in north Australia. Modelling indicates that a future sea level rise will generate changes in the dynamics and channel dimensions which mimic post glacial changes. In the macrotidal South Alligator the floodplain will revert to mangrove, the mouth region will widen and sediment will move upstream and onto the floodplain. In the mesotidal, diurnal Norman the channel will widen throughout and sediment will be transported seawards. In Coral Creek the mangrove will retreat landwards.

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