Special Issue "Relative Sea Level Change and Coastal Vulnerability"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Oceans and Coastal Zones".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 January 2022) | Viewed by 5345

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fabrizio Antonioli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Istituto Di Geologia Ambientale E Geoingegneria (IGAG) CNR, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: coastal geomorphology; relative sea level change; sea flooding risk for the future
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Paolo Stocchi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Coastal Systems Department, and Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Interests: sea-level changes; ice-sheet dynamics; ocean and hydrodynamics; sediment transport; startigraphy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sea level rise is one of the major consequences of climate change, and it is already affecting coastal communities and ecosystems around the world. However, the current rate of sea-level rise is not the same everywhere. The melting of continental ice sheets and glaciers is a prime driver of sea-level rise over century to millennia time scales. Glacial and hydro-isostatic adjustment (GIA) is a combination of physical processes that regulate the deformation of the solid earth and of the geoid in response to surface ice and water loading variations. Hence, GIA contributes to the strong regional variability of ice-driven mean and relative sea-level (RSL) change. Vertical tectonic movements and mantle dynamic topography also contribute to increase the variability of RSL change in space and time. Furthermore, a strong contributor to regional sea-level variability also on much shorter time scales is thermal expansion in temperate sea, caused by density changes due to temperature increase. If combined and added to global sea level projections for 2100, GIA, vertical tectonic motions, thermosteric expansion, and ocean dynamics can cause large regional differences in the behavior of all of the world’s coasts. In this Special Volume, we aim at discussing geomorphological and geophysical data and models that currently highlight the problems in coastal vulnerability expected in 2100. This Special Issue therefore aims to present recent advances on relative sea level rise and projections for the future. Specifically, manuscripts about the following topics are of interest for this Special Issue:

  • New and revised coastal geomorphological evidences such as fossil forms, deposits (corals, speleothems, etc.) and erosive features;
  • New and revised archaeological remains that are well connected with the mean sea level;
  • Instrumental data and time series: tide gauges, GPS, INSAR, satellite altimetry and gravity, long-range baseline interferometry, gravimetry;
  • State-of-the-art numerical modeling: (paleo)climate, ice sheets, glacial and hydro-isostatic adjustment, mantle dynamic topography, sediments and karts isostasy, ocean and coastal hydrodynamics, and geomorphodynamics;
  • New neo-tectonic rates (Short and long term) in coastal areas will also be welcome.

Dr. Fabrizio Antonioli
Prof. Dr. Paolo Stocchi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sea level rise
  • coastal geomorphology
  • stratigraphy
  • archaeology
  • instrumental sea-level measurements
  • remote sensing
  • numerical modelling
  • glacial and hydro-isostatic adjustment
  • (neo)tectonics
  • future projections

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
New Evidence of MIS 3 Relative Sea Level Changes from the Messina Strait, Calabria (Italy)
Water 2021, 13(19), 2647; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13192647 - 26 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1004
Abstract
Investigation of sea-level positions during the highly-dynamic Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3: 29–61 kyrs BP) proves difficult because: (i) in stable and subsiding areas, coeval coastal sediments are currently submerged at depths of few to several tens of meters below the present [...] Read more.
Investigation of sea-level positions during the highly-dynamic Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3: 29–61 kyrs BP) proves difficult because: (i) in stable and subsiding areas, coeval coastal sediments are currently submerged at depths of few to several tens of meters below the present sea level; (ii) in uplifting areas, the preservation of geomorphic features and sedimentary records is limited due to the erosion occurred during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) with sea level at a depth of −130 m, followed by marine transgression that determined the development of ravinement surfaces. This study discusses previous research in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, and describes new fossiliferous marine deposits overlaying the metamorphic bedrock at Cannitello (Calabria, Italy). Radiocarbon ages of marine shells (about 43 kyrs cal BP) indicate that these deposits, presently between 28 and 30 m above sea level, formed during MIS 3.1. Elevation correction of the Cannitello outcrops (considered in an intermediate-to-far-field position with respect to the ice sheet) with the local vertical tectonic rate and Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) rate allows the proposal of a revision of the eustatic depth for this highstand. Our results are consistent with recently proposed estimates based on a novel ice sheet modelling technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relative Sea Level Change and Coastal Vulnerability)
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Article
MIS 5.5 Highstand and Future Sea Level Flooding at 2100 and 2300 in Tectonically Stable Areas of Central Mediterranean Sea: Sardinia and the Pontina Plain (Southern Latium), Italy
Water 2021, 13(18), 2597; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182597 - 21 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Areas of the Mediterranean Sea are dynamic habitats in which human activities have been conducted for centuries and which feature micro-tidal environments with about 0.40 m of range. For this reason, human settlements are still concentrated along a narrow coastline strip, where any [...] Read more.
Areas of the Mediterranean Sea are dynamic habitats in which human activities have been conducted for centuries and which feature micro-tidal environments with about 0.40 m of range. For this reason, human settlements are still concentrated along a narrow coastline strip, where any change in the sea level and coastal dynamics may impact anthropic activities. We analyzed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and Copernicus Earth observation data. The aim of this research is to provide estimates and detailed maps (in three coastal plain of Sardinia (Italy) and in the Pontina Plain (southern Latium, Italy) of: (i) the past marine transgression occurred during MIS 5.5 highstand 119 kyrss BP; (ii) the coastline regression occurred during the last glacial maximum MIS 2 (21.5 krs cal BP); and (iii) the potential marine submersion for 2100 and 2300. The objective of this multidisciplinary study is to provide maps of sea level rise future scenarios using the IPCC RCP 8.5 2019 projections and glacio-hydro-isostatic movements for the above selected coastal zones (considered tectonically stable), which are the locations of touristic resorts, railways and heritage sites. We estimated a potential loss of land for the above areas of between about 146 km2 (IPCC 2019-RCP8.5 scenario) and 637 km2 along a coastline length of about 268 km. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relative Sea Level Change and Coastal Vulnerability)
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Article
Preservation of Modern and MIS 5.5 Erosional Landforms and Biological Structures as Sea Level Markers: A Matter of Luck?
Water 2021, 13(15), 2127; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13152127 - 02 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1117
Abstract
The Mediterranean Basin is characterized by a significant variability in tectonic behaviour, ranging from subsidence to uplifting. However, those coastal areas considered to be tectonically stable show coastal landforms at elevations consistent with eustatic and isostatic sea level change models. In particular, geomorphological [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Basin is characterized by a significant variability in tectonic behaviour, ranging from subsidence to uplifting. However, those coastal areas considered to be tectonically stable show coastal landforms at elevations consistent with eustatic and isostatic sea level change models. In particular, geomorphological indicators—such as tidal notches or shore platforms—are often used to define the tectonic stability of the Mediterranean coasts. We present the results of swim surveys in nine rocky coastal sectors in the central Mediterranean Sea using the Geoswim approach. The entire route was covered in 22 days for a total distance of 158.5 km. All surveyed sites are considered to have been tectonically stable since the last interglacial (Marine Isotope Stage 5.5 [MIS 5.5]), because related sea level markers fit well with sea level rise models. The analysis of visual observations and punctual measurements highlighted that, with respect to the total length of surveyed coast, the occurrence of tidal notches, shore platforms, and other indicators accounts for 85% of the modern coastline, and only 1% of the MIS 5.5 equivalent. Therefore, only 1% of the surveyed coast showed the presence of fossil markers of paleo sea levels above the datum. This significant difference is mainly attributable to erosion processes that did not allow the preservation of the geomorphic evidence of past sea level stands. In the end, our research method showed that the feasibility of applying such markers to define long-term tectonic behaviour is much higher in areas where pre-modern indicators have not been erased, such as at sites with hard bedrock previously covered by post-MIS 5.5 continental deposits, e.g., Sardinia, the Egadi Islands, Ansedonia, Gaeta, and Circeo. In general, the chances of finding such preserved indicators are very low. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relative Sea Level Change and Coastal Vulnerability)
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Review

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Review
Submerged Speleothems and Sea Level Reconstructions: A Global Overview and New Results from the Mediterranean Sea
Water 2021, 13(12), 1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13121663 - 14 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1185
Abstract
This study presents a global overview of the submerged speleothems used to reconstruct paleo sea levels and reports new results from two stalactites collected in the Mediterranean Sea. Coastal cave deposits significantly contributed to the understanding of global and regional sea-level variations during [...] Read more.
This study presents a global overview of the submerged speleothems used to reconstruct paleo sea levels and reports new results from two stalactites collected in the Mediterranean Sea. Coastal cave deposits significantly contributed to the understanding of global and regional sea-level variations during the Middle and Late Quaternary. The studied speleothems cover the last 1.4 Myr and focused mainly on Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 1, 2, 3, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 7.5. The results indicate that submerged speleothems represent extraordinary archives that can provide detailed information on former sea-level changes. The two stalactites collected in the central Mediterranean Sea, at Favignana and Ustica islands (Sicily, Italy), are both characterized by continental, phreatic or marine layers. The U-Th and 14C ages of the new speleothems provide results of great interest for relative sea-level changes over the last 1000 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Relative Sea Level Change and Coastal Vulnerability)
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