The Niger delta with its gentle slope and low elevation is extremely sensitive to effects of climate change. Its adaptive capacity is the second lowest in terms of socio-economic development in Nigeria. Quantitative studies on developing measures for coastal planning and management in the lower Niger delta have been limited by data availability and inaccessibility of parts of the delta. The use of satellite data can help bridge the data gap by providing ancillary data (imagery, elevation, altimetry etc.) that can be used to quantify the effects of SLR in the Niger delta. This thesis uses satellite data as the main source for hydrodynamic modelling and GIS analysis. Until recently such data might not have the accuracy and precision of directly measured data. However recent innovative approaches have enabled better exploitation of satellite data to overcome these limitations and produce adequate results to assess the impact of SLR on the Niger delta in an integrated way that will lead to practical recommendations for adaptation. Using projected global eustatic SLR values in combination with land subsidence, this thesis estimated SLR levels for the Niger delta and its effect on inundation areas and flood extent. The results indicate that the Niger delta is very vulnerable to inundation and that even minimal SLR will affect flooding in the lower Niger delta since the area continues to subside. A new coastal vulnerability index was developed in this thesis by evaluating physical, social and human influence indicators of exposure, susceptibility and resilience. The results show that parts of the Niger delta are highly vulnerable to SLR and need adequate mitigation/adaptation measures to protect them. It is recommended that sustainable local resilience practices already being used in parts of the Niger delta should be included in adaptation planning.
1.1 Study aims and objectives
1.3 Thesis structure
2 Background, Study area and Data availability
2.1 Adaptation and Mitigation strategies applied on coastal areas around the world
2.2 Coastal protection for the Niger delta
2.3 Available Data
3 Extracting information from modern data sources
3.2 Overview of satellite data applications for surface water studies
3.3 Use of high resolution insitu sampling
3.4 Future direction
4 Modelling complex deltas in data scarce areas c
4.1 Effects of river flooding on coastal areas under sea level rise conditions
4.2 Effects of coastal flooding
5 Vulnerability to sea level rise
5.1 Vulnerability assessment methodology
5.2 Selected indicators for Exposure
5.3 Selected indicators for Susceptibility and Resilience
5.4 Results and discussion
6 Resilience to sea level rise
6.3 Discussion of results as they relate to local adaptation practices in the Niger delta
7 Mitigation and adaptation to sea level rise
7.1 Mitigation and Adaptation options for deltas
7.2 Options for the Niger delta
7.3 Cost of implementation
8 Conclusions and Recommendations
8.3 Study Limitations
IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.
PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.
IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.