Sea level rise and land loss in the Nile Delta

June 09, 2016
M.A. Hassaan and M.A. Abdrabo

IDRC-funded researchers have identified coastal areas in the Nile Delta that may be vulnerable to sea level rise using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Results indicate that significant land loss may occur in that region by 2100. Using the most recent predictions of sea level rise, total coastal land lost could be between 22 to 49%.

This land loss may occur if nothing is done to adapt to climate change.

Where would the damage occur?

The researchers found that damage from rising sea levels would depend on how the land is being used. Most likely, farmland would experience the greatest impacts followed by coastal wetlands, vacant land, and built-up areas. Some constructed features (such as roads) can decrease land’s vulnerability to sea level rise, even though protecting coastlines may not have been their original purpose. 

The researchers also noted that even in the absence of sea level rise, almost 16% of the total coastal land in the Nile Delta may be lost due to subsidence. 

In their paper, Vulnerability of the Nile Delta coastal areas to inundation by sea level rise, M.A. Hassaan and Mohammad Abdrabo used GIS to identify areas and land use/cover that may be susceptible to sea level rise by 2100.

This paper is a result of a project supported by IDRC’s Climate Change and Water program, Establishing the Alexandria Research Centre for Adaptation to Climate Change (ARCA).

Watch an interview with researcher Mohammad Abdrabo:

Video interview with Mohammad Abdrabo