Approach on Modeling Complex Deltas in Data Scarce Areas: A Case Study of the Lower Niger Delta

Zahrah N. Musa, Ioana I. Popescu, Arthur Mynett

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Compared to coastal areas, river deltas which are located in coastal zone, have complex morphologies, because river waters and sediments are transported through the deltas into the sea. A delta can have many elements included, such as barrier islands, multiple estuaries, sand beaches, or mud coasts. It can be crisscrossed by rivers emanating from different sources and carrying different types of sediments; which differentiate the segments of the coast. Generally, deltas are fertile and highly productive, attracting agricultural activities and trade and thus densely populated. The physical properties of deltas and anthropogenic activities make them vulnerable to the effects of the changing climate; however when evaluation of vulnerabilities is important many coastal deltas lack even the most basic necessary data (e.g water level) for performing such a task. Data availability is one of the most important factors for analysis, assessment and modeling of physical and other phenomena related to river and coastal systems. Although lower Niger delta is classified as one of the deltas of the world vulnerable to the effects of climate change, it has little availability of data for hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. Present paper will show how to model the possible effect of a rise in sea levels on the lower Niger delta, by dividing its coastline into 54 segments based on slope, elevation and presence of large estuaries. The segments are analyzed for vulnerability to flooding, erosion and inundation. The parts identified as the most vulnerable are modeled using Deltares' DFlow modelling methodology, using a flexible mesh for discretization of the modeled area. Satellite derived DEM is used to calculate an upstream rating curve for the Bonny River, and to provide topographic data. Sea level rise is represented by changes in the tidal level to reflect IPCC predictions of sea levels by 2050 and 2100. The results are analyzed for flooding and inundation, increase in land loss, water depth and flood extent as compared with no sea level rise scenarios. Also, dry and wet land losses are mapped and quantified within a GIS environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-664
Number of pages9
JournalProcedia Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Event12th International Conference on Hydroinformatics - Songdo ConvensiA, Incheon, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Duration: 21 Aug 201626 Aug 2016
Conference number: 12

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