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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Sep 2018

Research article | 06 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

The impact of sea-level rise on tidal characteristics around Australasia

Alexander Harker1,2, J. A. Mattias Green2, and Michael Schindelegger1 Alexander Harker et al.
  • 1Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 2School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, UK

Abstract. An established tidal model, validated for present-day conditions, is used to investigate the effect of large levels of sea-level rise (SLR) on tidal characteristics around Australasia. SLR is implemented through a uniform depth increase across the model domain, with a comparison between the coastal boundary being treated as impenetrable or allowing low-lying land to flood. The complex spatial response of the semi-diurnal constituents, M2 and S2, is broadly similar, with the magnitude of M2's response being greater. The most predominant features of this response are large amplitude changes in the Arafura Sea and within embayments along Australia's north-west coast, and the generation of new amphidromic systems within the Gulf of Carpentaria and south of Papua, once water depth across the domain is increased by 3 and 7m respectively. Dissipation from M2 increases around the islands in the north of the Sahul shelf region and around coastal features along north Australia, leading to a notable drop in dissipation along Eighty Mile Beach. The diurnal constituent, K1, is found to be amplified within the Gulf of Carpentaria, indicating a possible change of resonance properties of the gulf. Coastal flooding has a profound impact on the response of tidal amplitudes to SLR, particularly K1, by creating local regions of increased tidal dissipation and altering the shape of coastlines.

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Short summary
We used a computer model to help predict how changing sea levels around Australia will affect the ebb and flow of the tide. We found that sea-level rise affects where energy from the tide is dissipated and how the tide flows around the coastline. This increases the tidal range in some areas and decreases it in others. We also found that coastal flooding in the model can reduce the predicted tidal range changes. This sort of investigation can help direct coastal management and protection efforts.
We used a computer model to help predict how changing sea levels around Australia will affect...