Funds are provided to the PI who will use observations and analyses of coastal stratigraphy and geomorphology, paleobathymetric models, geochemical proxies, and a physical oceanographic model to understand Holocene responses of a coastal system in North Carolina to changes in climate, geomorphology, and hydrodynamics. The modern estuarine system has a microtidal range of approximately 0.1 m, due in part to the existence of the Outer Banks barrier islands. They hypothesize that barrier island segmentation during two intervals of Holocene time resulted in an astronomical tidal component substantially in excess of the modern system. To understand the response of the system to geomorphic changes brought on by climate and sea-level conditions, they propose to develop paleoenvironmental and paleobathymetric models of this system at specific time slices, and model the tidal effects (amplitude, currents, sediment transport, salinity). Geochemical proxies will be used to understand the regional climate changes before, during, and following these two events. These data will facilitate a better understanding of the past coastal system response to climate conditions, and the potential for future changes.
Broader Impacts: This investigation will support two masters students and one undergraduate student at ECU. Sea-level rise and its effects are of high societal relevance all along the US East Coast.