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Friday, July 13, 2018

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Predicting marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise using Holocene relative sea-level data
Benjamin Horton

Predicting marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise using Holocene relative sea-level data

Event date: 13 July 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Event type: Seminar
Venue: ASE 3D Visualisation Laboratory (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Benjamin Horton
About the speaker:

Benjamin Horton is a professor at the Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research concerns sea-level change. He aims to understand the mechanisms that have determined sea-level changes in the past, and which will shape changes in the future. Professor Horton’s research impacts upon important ethical, social, economic and political problems facing such coastal regions.

Professor Horton has won a number of research awards: European Geosciences Union (Plinius Medal); American Geophysical Union (Voyager Award); Geological Society of America (W. Storrs Cole Award); and United States Army Corps of Engineers (Medal for Research Excellence). He was made a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2013. Professor Horton was an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (5AR). For excellence in teaching and outreach, Professor Horton has received the Linnean Society Award for contributions to biological diversity and evolution, The Higher Education Funding Council for England Excellence in Teaching Award and the Menzies Australian Bicentennial Award for promoting scholarship, intellectual links, and mutual awareness and understanding between the United Kingdom and Australia. Professor Horton’s research was cited by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address on January 20th 2015.

Professor Horton has published over 180 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Horton is supervising or has supervised 22 students to the degree of PhD and 14 postdoctoral scientists, of which 12 now occupy academic positions. 


Tidal marshes rank among Earth’s vulnerable ecosystems, which will retreat if future rates of relative sea-level rise (RSLR) exceed marshes’ ability to accrete vertically. Here we assess the limits to marsh vulnerability by analyzing >780 Holocene reconstructions of tidal marsh evolution in Great Britain, which includes both transgressive (tidal marsh retreat) and regressive (tidal marsh expansion) contacts. The probability of a marsh retreat was conditional upon Holocene rates of RSLR, which varied between -7.7 and 15.2 mm/yr. Holocene records indicate marshes are nine times more likely to retreat than expand when RSLR rates are ≥7.1 mm/yr. Coupling probabilities of marsh retreat with projections of future RSLR suggests a major risk of tidal marsh loss in the 21st century. All of Great Britain has a >80% probability of a marsh retreat under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 by 2100, with areas of southern and eastern England achieving this probability by 2040.

 

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