We are conducting a study to understand the response of large-delta systems (in this case, the Nile Delta) to a variety of regional climatic and anthropic forcing parameters. Anthropic effects will be evaluated by analysis of remote sensing data to measure the accelerated subsidence in the Delta caused by the impoundment of the silt and clay behind the Aswan High Dam. Published subsidence rates extracted from radiocarbon-dated cores across the northern Delta and carbon dated archeological sites, now below sea level will be examined against subsidence rates measured from interferometry. The subsidence rates from radiocarbon dated sediments are largely controlled by the Holocene climatic forcings, whereas the rates extracted from interferometry reflect the imprint of human factors on the ongoing subsidence under the prevailing climatic regimes. The proposed methodology will provide subsidence rates under the prevailing climatic and human influenced conditions and is therefore more likely to provide accurate futuristic simulations for subsidence in the Delta. The obtained rates will be also used to address the apparent differences in subsidence rates extracted from radiocarbon dated sediments and those obtained from buried archeological sites. DEMs from SIR-C data will be used to delineate subsiding areas that are vulnerable to sea encroachment. The ultimate outcome of this investigation will be a predictive capability that can relate forcing by anthropic and climatic activities to anticipated responses of the coastal deltaic systems.
Sponsor: European Space Agency (ESA)