Articles | Volume 7, issue 3
Research article
 | Highlight paper
26 Aug 2019
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 26 Aug 2019

A global delta dataset and the environmental variables that predict delta formation on marine coastlines

Rebecca L. Caldwell, Douglas A. Edmonds, Sarah Baumgardner, Chris Paola, Samapriya Roy, and Jaap H. Nienhuis

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Cited articles

Amante, C. and Eakins, B.: ETOPO1 1 arc-minute global relief model: procedures, data sources and analysis, available at: (last access: 4 August 2017), 2009. 
Anthony, E. J.: Wave influence in the construction, shaping and destruction of river deltas: A review, Mar. Geol., 361, 53–78, 2015. 
Anthony, E. J., Marriner, N., and Morhange, C.: Human influence and the changing geomorphology of Mediterranean deltas and coasts over the last 6000 years: from progradation to destruction phase?, Earth-Sci. Rev., 139, 336–361, 2014. 
Argus, D. F., Peltier, W. R., Drummond, R., and Moore, A. W.: The Antarctica component of postglacial rebound model ICE-6G_C (VM5a) based upon GPS positioning, exposure age dating of ice thicknesses, and relative sea level histories, Geophys. J. Int., 198, 537–563,, 2014. 
Ashton, A., Murray, A., and Arnoult, O.: Formation of coastline features by large-scale instabilities induced by high-angle waves, Nature, 414, 296–300, 2001. 
Short summary
River deltas are valuable resources that support biodiversity and human habitation. Despite this we do not have a global census of deltas nor do we know the conditions that promote their formation. We surveyed 5399 river mouths greater than 50  m wide and found that 2174 (40  %) create a delta. The conditions that lead to delta formation are high sediment input and low wave and tide conditions. These results can be used to understand how deltas will adapt to environmental changes.