Simulating barrier island response to sea level rise with the barrier island and inlet environment (BRIE) model v1.0
Barrier islands are low-lying coastal landforms vulnerable to inundation and erosion by sea level rise. Despite their socioeconomic and ecological importance, their future morphodynamic response to sea level rise or other hazards is poorly understood. To tackle this knowledge gap, we outline and describe the BarrieR Inlet Environment (BRIE) model that can simulate long-term barrier morphodynamics. In addition to existing overwash and shoreface formulations, BRIE accounts for alongshore sediment transport, inlet dynamics, and flood–tidal delta deposition along barrier islands. Inlets within BRIE can open, close, migrate, merge with other inlets, and build flood–tidal delta deposits. Long-term simulations reveal complex emergent behavior of tidal inlets resulting from interactions with sea level rise and overwash. BRIE also includes a stratigraphic module, which demonstrates that barrier dynamics under constant sea level rise rates can result in stratigraphic profiles composed of inlet fill, flood–tidal delta, and overwash deposits. In general, the BRIE model represents a process-based exploratory view of barrier island morphodynamics that can be used to investigate long-term risks of flooding and erosion in barrier environments. For example, BRIE can simulate barrier island drowning in cases in which the imposed sea level rise rate is faster than the morphodynamic response of the barrier island.