29 May 2015

Detailed modelling of river morphological response to climate change scenarios

The Rhine River is the longest in Western Europe. It is considered the backbone of the Northwest European waterways network. Several programmes in the Netherlands concern the Rhine. Among these programmes is the Delta Programme, which has a general objective to protect the Netherlands against high water now and in the future. The KNMI (Royal Dutch Metrological Institute) estimates indicate warming trends for the future. Accordingly, when planning for the future, we need to consider climate change scenarios. In this paper, we use a quasi three-dimensional morphological model to evaluate the impact of various climate change scenarios on the future morphodynamics of the Rhine in the Netherlands. We demonstrate a technique to simulate different climate change scenarios for extended time periods. Based on estimates of future discharges, we are able to schematise different discharge time-series corresponding to the different climate change scenarios. Consequently,we use these discharges to evaluate both large-scale one-dimensional morphological trends aswell as changes in two-dimensional patterns. The predictions cover the long-term and the seasonal variations, due to climate change scenarios. The method is applicable for any river. From the findings of this study, it appears that for the warm scenarios, and if current maintenance strategy of the navigation channel stays unchanged, there would be a significant increase in volume of maintenance dredging. We also give prognoses of river trends in the future for the different branches, projections are made for the years 2015, 2050 and 2100.

Mohamed F.M.Yossef, Kees Sloff. River Flow 2012 – Murillo (Ed.) © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 978-0-415-62129-8