A quantitative assessment of human interventions and climate change on the West African sediment budget

A. Giardino*, R. Schrijvershof, C. M. Nederhoff, H. de Vroeg, C. Brière, P. K. Tonnon, S. Caires, D. J. Walstra, J. Sosa, W. van Verseveld, J. Schellekens, C. J. Sloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The West African coastal barrier is maintained by significant wave-driven longshore sand transport. This sand originates from rivers and large coastal sand deposits. Today, however, much of the fluvial sand is trapped behind river dams and/or interrupted at several locations by port jetties. As a result, the sandy coastal barrier is eroding almost everywhere along its length. The aim of this study is to derive a large-scale sediment budget analysis, following a consistent approach, for the following countries: Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin, and pointing out the effects of major human interventions and climate change in this large common sediment system. The results are used as a basis to raise awareness among local governments and organizations on the effects and interdependency that major anthropogenic interventions (i.e. port jetties and river dams) and climate change (i.e. sea level rise, changes in wave climate, precipitation and temperature) may have on this shared sediment system. These detrimental effects can even occur in neighboring countries, as shown by some of the results. This estimation was carried out using a quantitative approach, based on one consistent numerical modelling system and validated with regional and local data. Based on the outcomes of the study, and with the support of a number of validation workshops in the different countries, suggestions are also provided for the setting up of a regional sediment management plan for the entire region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Issue numberApril
Early online date13 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018


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