|Beach and shoreface response to sea-level rise: Ocean City, Maryland, U.S.A.|In: Progress in Oceanography. Pergamon: Oxford,New York,. ISSN 0079-6611; e-ISSN 1873-4472, meer
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Sea-level is one of the principal determinants of shoreline position. Sea-level rise induces or accelerates on-going shore retreat since deeper water decreases wave refraction, thus increasing littoral drift, and also allowing waves to arrive closer to shore before breaking. Tidal records from the US East and Gulf coasts indicate a relative sea-level rise of approximately 0.3m has occurred during the past century. Concomitantly, erosion has been prevalent almost everywhere along these sandy shorelines. Ocean City, Maryland, was selected as a case study site to determine historical shoreline changes and to project future beach erosion based on accelerated rates of sea-level rise. During the past 130 years (1850–1980), this shore has retreated approximately 75m and many highrise buildings at Ocean City are now threatened during storm conditions. Accelerated sea-level rise is expected to increase the rate of retreat by a factor of 2 to 5 based on analysis of present trends. This significantly reduces the planning time available for mitigating the hazard and increases the vulnerability of this urbanised barrier through time.