Modelling the changing sediment yield of the Amazon for the next 100 years and the impact on the Suriname coast


The Amazon is a massive transcontinental conveyance system for suspended sediment. Large amounts of sediment are transported westwards from the Amazon outlet towards the Guianas and form migrating mud banks. This high mud supply can lead to rapid coastal pro-gradation but also erosion in case the coast is not protected by mud banks. The low-lying coasts of the Guianas are thus highly dependent on variations in Amazon mud supply. However, we lack fundamental knowledge and model forecasts to predict how sediment yield may change in the future due to climate change and human interference in the Amazon catchment. In Suriname, socio-economic development has also led to removal of mangroves which act as a natural sea defence, increasing vulnerability. With these human activities, climate risks and sea level rise, the future of the Suriname coast is unsure.

Our aim is to predict Amazon discharge and sediment load given anticipated climate change scenarios and deforestation rates. The UU PCRGLOB model coupled with a sediment module will be used to quantitatively assess future changes. The outcome will yield important information on sediment supply and mud bank dynamics in front of the Guiana coasts with emphasis on Suriname. The candidate will work closely together with PhD-candidates de Vries and Bijnaar studying the Suriname coast using satellite imagery. The impact of variations in trade winds is also investigated. The three topics together will advance our knowledge about the coastal ecosystem, how this may change in the future, and help developing sustainable management strategies.





Prof. dr. S.M. de Jong

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geowetenschappen


01/03/2019 tot 14/01/2020