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Climate-change impact assessment for inlet-interrupted coastlines



Climate-change (CC)-driven sea-level rise (SLR) will result in coastline retreat due to landward movement of the coastal profile (that is, the Bruun effect). Coastline change adjacent to commonly found tidal inlets will be influenced not only by the Bruun effect, but also by SLR-driven basin infilling and CC-driven variations in rainfall/runoff. However, as a model that accounts for all of the above-mentioned processes has been lacking so far, most coastal CC impact studies until now have considered only the Bruun effect. Here, we present a scale-aggregated model capable of providing rapid assessments of coastline change adjacent to small inlet-estuary/lagoon systems due to the combined effect of CC-driven SLR and variations in rainfall/runoff. Model applications to four representative systems show that the Bruun effect represents only 25–50% of total potential coastline change, and underline the significance of coastline change due to SLR-driven basin infilling and CC-driven variations in rainfall/runoff.

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Figure 1: Schematic showing the main parameters governing coastline change due to CC-driven SLR and variations in rainfall/runoff.
Figure 2: Model predicted coastline change by 2100 at Tu Hien inlet, VietNam and Swan River, Western Australia.

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Z. B. Wang (Deltares/Delft University of Technology) is gratefully acknowledged for providing invaluable advice and guidance on the SLR-driven basin infilling process and the ASMITA model. R.R. would like to thank J. Bosboom (Delft University of Technology) and Ad van der Spek (Deltares) for early discussions pertaining to this research. This study was partly supported by the Deltares Coastal Maintenance Research Programme Beheer and Onderhoud Kust.

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R.R. and M.S. conceived the idea of the new model. R.R. developed and tested the model and wrote the manuscript. T.M.D. collated model input data and applied the model to field sites. S.U. provided all hydrological analysis for this study. D.R. provided strategic advice on coastal processes. All authors provided suggestions and comments on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Roshanka Ranasinghe.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Ranasinghe, R., Duong, T., Uhlenbrook, S. et al. Climate-change impact assessment for inlet-interrupted coastlines. Nature Clim Change 3, 83–87 (2013).

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