2019 CSDMS meeting-002

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MORPHOLOGICAL EVOLUTION OF LARGE RIVER DELTAS

Dinuke Munasinghe, University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Alabama, United States. dsnanayakkaramunasinghe@crimson.ua.edu
Dinuke Munasinghe, University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Alabama, United States. dsnanayakkaramunasinghe@crimson.ua.edu
Sagy Cohen, University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Alabama, United States. sagy.cohen@ua.edu


Close to half a billion people live in deltaic regions worldwide, including in a number of mega-cities. River deltaic landforms act as central locations for agricultural production, livestock farming, and hydrocarbon extraction. The understanding of riverine sediment fluxes and associated delta morphology changes, aids in planning engineering works such as identification of flood-prone areas, installation of coastal defense structures, dam construction, and restoration activities of extensively altered areas.

The overarching goal of the study is to elucidate the interconnectivity between fluvial fluxes and associated landform changes in large global deltas. The following research questions are investigated: (1) Are changes in fluvial sediment flux to the delta directly linked to changes in delta morphology? (2) What are the magnitudes and trends of riverine sediment fluxes that can be expected throughout the 21st century? A multifaceted research approach combining (a) satellite remote sensing analysis of delta morphology changes (progradation/degradation), and (b) numerical modeling of riverine water and sediment fluxes, is used on selected large river deltas globally.

Major outcomes of the study indicate that the synoptic capability of remote sensing provides a useful reconnaissance tool to infer on the rates at which the deltas change. An overview of global delta change is presented with a special focus on case studies with severe degradation and interesting flux estimates. The outcomes of the study yield a number of novel insights into fluvial fluxes of the 21st century and transform our analytical capabilities for studying delta morphology change and sediment flux dynamics in large rivers, globally.