Title

The Critical Zone of Coastal Barrier Systems

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date

2015

Publication Title

Developments in Earth Surface Processes

Volume

19

First Page

497

Last Page

522

DOI

10.1016/B978-0-444-63369-9.00016-1

Keywords

Barrier Island, Beach-dune interaction, Process-form system

Abstract

Barrier Islands represent some of the most dynamic and complex systems within the Critical Zone worldwide. Although coastal systems tend not to be recognized as Critical Zone environments, the evolution of Barrier Islands and the ecological functions they provide can be characterized in terms of a complex feedback among sediment supply (lithosphere), hydrology, the atmosphere, and ecology (biosphere). This represents an interesting departure from the traditional view of Barrier Island evolution (either regression or transgression) as a result of variations in sea level, sediment supply, and accommodation space. This chapter takes a Critical Zone approach to the response of Barrier Island evolution to sea-level rise and storm activity, explicitly recognizing the feedback among sediment supply, aeolian transport, disturbance regimes, vegetation development, and hydrology. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.