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Millions at risk of flooding as river deltas sink

September 25, 2009

From the Guardian

Most of the world’s river deltas are sinking relative to sea level, putting millions at risk of severe flooding, say researchers.

And human activity, such as dam-building, is the biggest reason, according to the study published last week in Nature Geoscience (20 September).

The researchers found that 85% of the major river deltas studied experienced severe flooding in the past decade.

The area of deltas vulnerable to flooding will increase by half if sea levels rise by an average of 44 centimetres this century as projected.

They studied 33 river deltas, formed by deposits of sediment where a river joins another body of water such as an ocean, by combining satellite and remote sensing data with historical maps to determine their height relative to sea level, and looked at flooding events and sediment deposits.

They found that 26 deltas were sinking relative to sea level.

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