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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Frances Dunn

PhD Studentship entitled: Will the world's vulnerable deltas sink into the sea: Predicting future sediment discharge to deltas under anthropogenic climate change

Frances Dunn's Photo

Hi, I'm Frances Dunn and I studied within Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton.

I've moved on to work with the DECCMA project (Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation) until its completion in November 2018.

This is an important topic because relative sea-level change is affected by sediment deposition (aggradation) along with ground subsidence, sediment compaction, isostatic and eustatic changes, but few prior studies have investigated the sediment supply side of this balance.
With a model of fluvial sediment flux it will therefore be possible to better predict relative sea level changes in these vulnerable deltas and thus if and when they are likely to be inundated. As deltas have been recognised as the most vulnerable coastal settings, with a resident population of roughly 500 million people worldwide, these predictions will assist in prognosis for the areas and inform their short- and long-term management.

Models of fluvial sediment flux takes into account a variety of factors across multiple disciplines, involving expertise such as geology, hydrology, and computing for geoscience. These factors include climate change, population, and development predictions, current and future dams, river channel engineering, and floodplain management strategies. The main factor currently identified as affecting sediment flux and deposition in deltas is the construction of dams in the river basins feeding deltas. These dams reduce the volume of sediment reaching deltas by trapping the sediment, which can cause delta aggradation to fail to keep pace with sea level rise and thus contribute to increased flood risk

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