Centennial Channel Response to Climate Change in an Engineered River

C. Ylla Arbós*, A. Blom, C. J. Sloff, R. M. J. Schielen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Human intervention makes river channels adjust their slope and bed surface grain size as they transition to a new equilibrium state in response to engineering measures. Climate change alters the river controls through hydrograph changes and sea level rise. We assess how channel response to climate change compares to channel response to human intervention over this century (2000–2100), focusing on a 300-km reach of the Rhine River. We set up a schematized numerical model representative of the current (1990–2020), non-graded state of the river, and subject it to scenarios for the hydrograph, sediment flux, and sea level rise. We conclude that the lower Rhine River will continue to adjust to past channelization measures in 2100 through channel bed incision. This response slows down as the river approaches its new equilibrium state. Channel response to climate change is dominated by hydrograph changes, which increasingly enhance incision, rather than sea level rise.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023GL103000
Number of pages12
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • channel bed incision
  • channel response
  • climate change
  • climate scenarios
  • gravel-bed rivers
  • human intervention


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