Global drivers, future deltas

This project of the Water, Climate & Future Deltas hub explores future population and land use change in deltas. We use a global Integrated Assessment Model (IMAGE) to project changes in population and land use to 2100 under the Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs).

Rice field, Vietnam
Rice field, Mekong delta, Vietnam. Credit: iStock/NGUYENTHANHTUNG

We analyse three plausible future scenarios: SSP 1 – sustainability; SSP 2 – middle of the road; SSP3 – regional rivalry. Outputs from the global model runs are downscaled to the delta scale to analyse trends in these places. We produce maps and trends of land use and population in deltas, forming part of the building blocks for the Water, Climate & Future Deltas hub goal to develop adaptation pathways in deltas. Global drivers of change set the boundary conditions for delta adaptation, so connecting global and delta scales is important.

Lessons learned from this project will also be used to inform future global integrated modelling about important local processes like relative sea level rise and adaptation.

Deliverables: delta-scale scenarios of future land use and population for the Rhine and Mekong deltas.

Involved faculties

Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, and Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences;


Involved external stakeholders

IMAGE Integrated Assessment Modelling group, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency

Contact person

    Project period: 2019-2020.