The Dominant Climate Change Event for Salinity Intrusion in the GBM Delta

Document Type


Publication Date



© 2019 by the authors. Salinity intrusion through the estuaries in low-lying tide-dominated deltas is a serious threat that is expected to worsen in changing climatic conditions. This research makes a comparative analysis on the impact of salinity intrusion due to a reduced upstream discharge, a sea level rise, and cyclonic conditions to find which one of these event dominates the salinity intrusion. A calibrated and validated salinity model (Delft3D) and storm surge model (Delft Dashboard) are used to simulate the surface water salinity for different climatic conditions. Results show that the effects of the reduced upstream discharge, a sea level rise, and cyclones cause different levels of impacts in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) delta along the Bangladesh coast. Reduced upstream discharge causes an increased saltwater intrusion in the entire region. A rising sea level causes increased salinity in the shallower coast. The cyclonic impact on saltwater intrusion is confined within the landfall zone. These outcomes suggest that, for a tide dominated delta, if a sea level rise (SLR) or cyclone occurred, the impact would be conditional and local. However, if the upstream discharge reduces, the impact would be gradual and along the entire coast.