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Department of Biological Sciences


In this study, we propose quantifying the Amu River riverbank erosion with the modelled river discharge in Kaldar District, Balkh Province of Afghanistan from 2004 to 2020. We propose a framework synergizing multi-source information for modelling the erosion area based on three components: (1) river discharge, (2) river width, and (3) erosion area. The total river discharge for the watershed shared by Afghanistan and Tajikistan was modelled using hydrological parameters from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Reanalysis v5 (ERA5) data through multivariate linear regression with ground station data. The river width was determined manually using the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) derived from Landsat data. The riverbank erosion area was derived from the digital shoreline analysis using the NDWI. The digital shoreline analysis showed that, between 2008 and 2020, the average riverbank erosion area in Kaldar District is about 5.4 km2 per year, and, overall, 86.3 km2 during 2004–2020 due to flood events. The significantly higher land loss events occurred at 10 km2 bank erosion during the years 2008–2009 and 2015–2016, and 19 km2 peak erosion occurred during 2011–2012. A linear relation between the erosion area with respect to the discharge intensity and the specific stream power was observed with an R2 of 0.84 and RMSE of 1.761 for both.

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