Date of Award

12-17-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Department

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Georgiou, Ioannis

Second Advisor

Kulp, Mark

Third Advisor

McCorquodale, J. Alex

Abstract

The Northern Gulf of Mexico and coastal Louisiana are experiencing accelerated relative sea level rise rates; therefore, the region is ideal for modeling the global affects of sea level rise (SLR) on estuarine dynamics in a transgressive barrier island setting. The field methods and numerical modeling in this study show that as barrier islands are converted to inner shoals, tidal exchange increases between the estuary and coastal ocean. If marshes are unable to accrete at a pace comparable to SLR, wetlands will deteriorate and the tidal exchange and tidal prism will further increase. Secondary to hurricanes, winter storms are a primary driver in coastal morphology in this region, and this study shows that wind direction and magnitude, as well as atmospheric pressure change greatly affect estuarine exchange. Significant wetland loss and winter storm events produce changes in local and regional circulation patterns, thereby affecting the hydrodynamic exchange and resulting transport.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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