Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Jennifer Kay

Second Advisor

Jai Syvitski

Third Advisor

Dale Miller

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abstract

As anthropogenic forcing continues to rapidly change worldwide climate, consequential landscape impacts will continue to coincide. In this study, a landscape evolution model called Badllands (BAsin anD LANscape DynamicS) is utilized to project if and how the landscape of the Tweed Caldera catchment, in Eastern Australia, dynamically reacts to shifts in the local climate. Different climatic scenarios were modeled over the next five centuries. In order to model practical scenarios, local climate projections were taken from the Australian government and the IPCC in the form of four representative concentration pathways (2.6, 4.5, 6.0 & 8.5). Another three scenarios were run for the purpose of observing the landscape impacts of ice sheet tipping points being hit, specifically in the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Three final scenarios were run with sea levels held constant and increased precipitation rates in order to better understand the role that both precipitation and sea level play in impacting landscapes on a drainage basin scale. Model results show that changes within the local climate do subsequently impact the Tweed Caldera basin’s dynamics and landscape. Basin impacts included heavy caldera erosion, significant amounts of inland/marine deposition, river avulsions, infill of inland bodies of water, inundation of ocean water, retreat of shorelines, progradation of shorelines at river mouths, delta formation, and flooding of upstream areas. All of these impacts varied (sometimes significantly) between scenarios and were highly dependent upon the rate and magnitude of climatic changes, mainly rates of sea level rise. This study, and others like it, can help bolster the understanding of regional impacts from climate change. This knowledge can help with the overall mitigation and/or prevention of these adverse impacts that are sure to be seen in the future as our climate continues to change.

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