Thirty-one million people living in river deltas are at high risk of experiencing flooding and other impacts from tropical cyclones and climate change, according to a study by Indiana University researchers.
“To date, no one has successfully quantified the global population on river deltas and assessed the cumulative impacts from climate change,” said Douglas Edmonds, the Malcolm and Sylvia Boyce Chair in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and lead author on the study. “Since river deltas have long been recognized as hotspots of population growth, and with increasing impacts from climate change, we realized we needed to properly quantify what the cumulative risks are in river deltas.”
The findings are the result of a collaboration facilitated by IU’s Institute for Advanced Study with support from the Environmental Resilience Institute.
The team’s analysis shows that river deltas occupy 0.5 percent of the earth’s land surface, yet they contain 4.5