Sea-level rise and shoreline retreat of the Nile Delta promontories, Egypt

Research paper by Omran E. Frihy

Indexed on: 01 Jan '92Published on: 01 Jan '92Published in: Natural hazards (Dordrecht, Netherlands)


Studies of the Nile Delta coast have indicated wide values of local subsidence, ranging from 0.4 to 5 mm/yr. Trend analysis of sea-level rise and shoreline retreat at two Nile Delta promontories have been studied. Records from tide gauges at Alexandria (1944–1989) and Port Said (1926–1987), north of the Nile delta coast, indicate a submergence of the land and/or a rise of the sea-level of 2 and 2.4 mm/yr, respectively.Dramatic erosion has occurred on some beaches of the Nile Delta. This is greatest at the tips of the Rosetta and Damietta promontories, with shoreline retreat up to 58 m/yr. Relationship between the shoreline retreat and sea level trends in terms of correlation analysis and application of the Bruun Rule indicates that the sea level rise has, by itself, a relatively minor effect on coastal erosion. The sea-level trend at the Nile delta coast is found to be only one of several effects on shoreline retreat. Major recent effects include a combination of cut-off of sediment supply to the coast by damming the River Nile and local hydrodynamic forces of waves and currents. Estimates of local future sea-level rise by the year 2100 at Alexandria and Port Said, respectively, is expected to be 37.9 and 44.2 cm. These expectations, combined with other factors, could accelerate coastal erosion, inundate wetlands and lowlands, and increase the salinity of lakes and aquifers.