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Multi-Decadal Deltaic Land-Surface Changes: Gauging the Vulnerability of a Selection of Mediterranean and Black Sea River Deltas

Abstract : Areal changes over delta surfaces determined by land and water ratios are a promising tool for identifying spatial and temporal changes in deltas that may reveal subsidence and shoreline erosion. Such changes can also provide the basis for more detailed studies on variations in land-cover and vegetation. Changes in land and water areas over a 35-year period (1984–2019) were determined for a selection of ten river deltas in the Mediterranean (Nile, Rhône, Po, Ebro, Moulouya, Ceyhan-Seyhan, Medjerdja, Ombrone, Arno) and the Black Sea (Danube), with a particular focus on aspects of subsidence and shoreline erosion. With the exception of the Ombrone, Arno, and Moulouya, and to lesser extent the Medjerdja, where notable changes dominate in the coastal zone and are tantamount to net erosion, the spatial pattern is largely dominated by delta-plain changes characterized by increasing areas of water. The pattern reflects a mix of shoreline erosion, land-use and land-cover changes, such as the ecological restoration of wetlands, but also increasing subsidence in these deltas, all of which have been exposed to a declining fluvial sediment supply due to human influence. The use of data on land-water ratios needs to be complemented by more detailed studies devoted to each delta in order to clearly disentangle changes related to land-use, vegetation, and subsidence. It is also important to determine how wetlands are interpreted in such ratios, as these important ecological elements are sensitive to ratio variations. It would also be interesting in future studies to examine how these variations play out over time, notably in deltas where changes have been significant over the period 1984–2019.
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Edward Anthony, Manon Besset, Florin Zainescu, François Sabatier. Multi-Decadal Deltaic Land-Surface Changes: Gauging the Vulnerability of a Selection of Mediterranean and Black Sea River Deltas. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, MDPI, 2021, 9 (5), ⟨10.3390/jmse9050512⟩. ⟨hal-03324859⟩

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