Amplification and deformation of tidal wave in the Upper Scheldt Estuary

Zhengbing Wang, Wouter Vandenbruwaene, Marcel Taal, Han Winterwerp

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The records ofHWand LWin the most upper part of the Scheldt Estuary since 1971 have been analysed together with the daily river discharge. The tidal range, the hydraulic head and the ratio between the rising tide period to falling tide period have been determined for investigating the tidal amplification, the water surface slope along the river and the tidal asymmetry. The purpose of the investigation is to find out if a regime shift to high turbidity and strong tidal amplification is developing in the system. The results of the analysis show that both the hydraulic head and the tidal amplification have increased over time. The tide in this part of the estuary is flood-dominant, but the flood-dominancy is decreasing in time. These developments of the tide can be plausibly explained by a decrease of the river width followed by gradual deepening in the river. The most upper part of the Scheldt Estuary still behaves normally as a not too muddy system. No decisive answer can be given whether or not a regime shift towards a high-turbid system with strong tidal amplification may develop. How the system will develop depends on the change in capacity of pumping mud towards the upper reaches of the estuary. The increasing tidal amplitude can enhance this capacity although the flood-dominance itself is decreasing. Further study is recommended to better specify the potential danger of a regime shift to high-turbid system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-839
Number of pages11
JournalOcean Dynamics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Hydraulic drag
  • Scheldt Estuary
  • Tidal amplification
  • Tidal asymmetry


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