Longest River in the World

ambience: Egyptian music A combination of natural and manmade influences are changing the face of the longest river in the world. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.We’re listening to music that for centuries has been traditionally been played along the banks of the Nile. According to Daniel Stanley of the Smithsonian Institution, the land surface beneath the Nile is being lowered every year, at the same time the sea level is slowly rising.Stanley: It’s a very bad combination between land lowering and sea level rising. And we anticipate that something on the order of 3 feet will rise above the Nile Delta surface in the next century. Since the Nile Delta surface is only about 3 feet to begin with, we can anticipate incursion of the sea onto the Nile surface by as much as 30 kilometers by the year 2100.The Aswan Dam, built in 1964, has controlled the annual flooding of the Nile, but there have been unanticipated side affects.Stanley: The dam serves as a trap for the sediments which before came down and served as a natural fertilizer and nutrient for the Delta surface, but at the present time, all of that sediment, or almost all of it, is trapped behind the dam. So the sediment no longer coming to the coast means that the waves and wind are eroding the Delta surface and accelerating the rates of erosion as the Delta surface itself is sinking into the sea. So it is complicating the situation.The future of Egypt, though, may depend on further human intervention.Stanley: The erosion of the Delta could be dealt with in a similar manner as the Dutch have handled their problems. And there are engineering structures which can help protect the land from the incursion and invasion from the sea. I think those are possibilities for Egypt.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Longest River in the World

The Nile is being altered by both natural and man-made influences.
Air Date:11/14/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: Egyptian music A combination of natural and manmade influences are changing the face of the longest river in the world. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.We're listening to music that for centuries has been traditionally been played along the banks of the Nile. According to Daniel Stanley of the Smithsonian Institution, the land surface beneath the Nile is being lowered every year, at the same time the sea level is slowly rising.Stanley: It's a very bad combination between land lowering and sea level rising. And we anticipate that something on the order of 3 feet will rise above the Nile Delta surface in the next century. Since the Nile Delta surface is only about 3 feet to begin with, we can anticipate incursion of the sea onto the Nile surface by as much as 30 kilometers by the year 2100.The Aswan Dam, built in 1964, has controlled the annual flooding of the Nile, but there have been unanticipated side affects.Stanley: The dam serves as a trap for the sediments which before came down and served as a natural fertilizer and nutrient for the Delta surface, but at the present time, all of that sediment, or almost all of it, is trapped behind the dam. So the sediment no longer coming to the coast means that the waves and wind are eroding the Delta surface and accelerating the rates of erosion as the Delta surface itself is sinking into the sea. So it is complicating the situation.The future of Egypt, though, may depend on further human intervention.Stanley: The erosion of the Delta could be dealt with in a similar manner as the Dutch have handled their problems. And there are engineering structures which can help protect the land from the incursion and invasion from the sea. I think those are possibilities for Egypt.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.