Data, knowledge, and modeling challenges for science-informed management of river deltas

Rafael Jan Pablo Schmitt*, Philip Simon Johannes Minderhoud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


450 million people live on river deltas and thus on land that is precariously low above the sea level and sinking because of human activities and natural processes. Although global debates around coastal risk typically focus on sea level rise, it is sinking lands and rising seas that together endanger lives and livelihoods in river deltas. However, the ability to quantify and address those risks in and integrated manner remains limited. Herein, we identify four priority areas where a lack of data, models, and knowledge are limiting sustainable delta management, namely (1) developing practical models for delta-scale processes and nature-based solutions, (2) coupling models for basin and delta processes, (3) closing knowledge disparities between river deltas, and (4) integrating deltas in assessments of global change and vice versa. Addressing those challenges through global scientific efforts is instrumental to identify local-to-global levers to design adaptation and mitigation measures for resilient river deltas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-235
Number of pages20
JournalOne Earth
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2023


  • land subsidence
  • numerical modeling
  • relative sea-level rise
  • sediment dynamics


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