Investigation of potential sea level rise impact on the Nile Delta, Egypt using digital elevation models

Abstract

In this study, the future impact of Sea Level Rise (SLR) on the Nile Delta region in Egypt is assessed by evaluating the elevations of two freely available Digital Elevation Models (DEMs): the SRTM and the ASTER-GDEM-V2. The SLR is a significant worldwide dilemma that has been triggered by recent climatic changes. In Egypt, the Nile Delta is projected to face SLR of 1 m by the end of the 21th century. In order to provide a more accurate assessment of the future SLR impact on Nile Delta’s land and population, this study corrected the DEM’s elevations by using linear regression model with ground elevations from GPS survey. The information for the land cover types and future population numbers were derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land cover and the Gridded Population of the Worlds (GPWv3) datasets respectively. The DEM’s vertical accuracies were assessed using GPS measurements and the uncertainty analysis revealed that the SRTM-DEM has positive bias of 2.5 m, while the ASTER-GDEM-V2 showed a positive bias of 0.8 m. The future inundated land cover areas and the affected population were illustrated based on two SLR scenarios of 0.5 m and 1 m. The SRTM DEM data indicated that 1 m SLR will affect about 3900 km2 of cropland, 1280 km2 of vegetation, 205 km2 of wetland, 146 km2 of urban areas and cause more than 6 million people to lose their houses. The overall vulnerability assessment using ASTER-GDEM-V2 indicated that the influence of SLR will be intense and confined along the coastal areas. For instance, the data indicated that 1 m SLR will inundate about 580 Km2 (6 %) of the total land cover areas and approximately 887 thousand people will be relocated. Accordingly, the uncertainty analysis of the DEM’s elevations revealed that the ASTER-GDEM-V2 dataset product was considered the best to determine the future impact of SLR on the Nile Delta region.

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Abbreviations

SLR:

Sea Level Rise

DEM:

Digital Elevation Model

SRTM:

Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission

ASTER-GDEM:

Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer- Global DEM

GPS:

Global Position System

MODIS:

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

GPWv3:

Gridded Population of the Worlds version3

LULC:

Land Use Land Cover

MCD12Q1:

Standard MODIS Land Cover product

IGBP:

International Geosphere Biosphere Program

SEDAC:

Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center

CAPMAS:

Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics

ME:

Mean Error

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Acknowledgments

The first author acknowledges the Mission sector of the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific research for providing the financial support to conduct this research in the United States of America through a PhD scholarship. The Advanced Radar Research Center (ARRC) group and the Hydrometrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory (HyDROS) research group at the University of Oklahoma for provided the research facilities for this work. We would like to thank Kayla L. Brandt for the English correction and the Manuscript editing. Thanks goes to Ms. Jenny Bailey for the manuscript proof reading and her fruitful comments that added more value to this work.

The DEM datasets and MODIS LULC products are from the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC). The gridded population maps are acquired from SEDAC.

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Correspondence to Emad Hasan.

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Hasan, E., Khan, S.I. & Hong, Y. Investigation of potential sea level rise impact on the Nile Delta, Egypt using digital elevation models. Environ Monit Assess 187, 649 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4868-9

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Keywords

  • SRTM DEM
  • ASTER-GDEM
  • Sea level rise
  • Climate changes
  • And Nile Delta Egypt