Earth Observations for Egyptian Coastal Lakes Monitoring and Management

  • Islam Abou El-MagdEmail author
  • Elham Ali
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 72)


Earth observation tools started as early as 1970s with some limited technologies at both spectral and spatial resolution. Since then, this technology has advanced at both dimensions. Data availability and data sharing policies are also improved enabling data availability for developing countries. Such availability fostered various environmental researches among which, the coastal monitoring and management. The coastal lakes’ system in Egypt has been developed with the formation of the delta and undergone severe changes in the last decades. Remote sensing has been used as a good monitoring and mapping tool for physical, biochemical, and geomorphological features of the northern coastal lakes. For example, the accelerated area cutoff occurred due to the continuous human activities and infrastructures that could be delineated through satellite imageries. Remote sensing helped to determine the lost area of each lake with the highest rate at Lake Idku (73% in 40 years), followed by Lake Manzala (42% in 60 years), and Lake Burullus (38% in 60 years). Lake Bardawil – to some extent – is isolated from the excessive land use and land cover activities, and therefore it is partially saved from severe changes and area losses. On the other hand, the existence of several national infrastructures such as railways and highways has changed the shape of the coastal lakes. For example, Lake Mariout has changed from only one body of water mass into four dissected basins, and Lake Manzala is divided into two sectors by the new national coastal road.

Remotely sensed data also enabled to estimate biophysical parameters including surface temperature, salinity, turbidity, and chlorophyll-a. For instance, it showed that Lake Bardawil has reduced levels of Chl-a (<13 mg/L) all over the year due to its isolation from drainage water and wastes (i.e., human and/or agriculture). The other coastal lakes, however have higher Chl-a levels that vary seasonally and even monthly due to the various wastes and drainage inflows. It also showed the spatial variations and Chl-a distribution along the lake on a single time with minimum values at northern part of the lakes, where the connection to the sea and higher levels downward confirms the effect of wastes and pollutants entering the lakes. With regard to spatial modeling and prediction, the IPCC model for sea level rise simulation indicated that the Egyptian coastal lakes are highly vulnerable to inundation through sea level rising with more than one predicting scenario and this would affect dramatically the whole ecosystem, particularly the aquatic environment. From a positive perspective, existence of these coastal lakes along the Mediterranean coast would play as the first-row defense for the delta zone. In this regard, applications of remotely sensed data could be used for the rehabilitation and management planning for lakes and help to exploit their natural resources and save their contribution to the national economy.


Coastal lakes Egypt Models Nile Delta Remote sensing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space SciencesCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Environmental Sciences Division, Faculty of ScienceSuez UniversitySuezEgypt

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