Dependence of tides and river water transport in an estuarine network on river discharge, tidal forcing, geometry and sea level rise

Jinyang Wang, Huib E. de Swart, Yoeri M. Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Estuaries are often characterised by a complex network of branching channels, in which the water motion is primarily driven by tides and fresh water discharge. For both scientific reasons and management purposes, it is important to gain more fundamental knowledge about the hydrodynamics in such networks, as well as their implications for turbidity and ecological functioning. A generic 2DV estuarine network model is developed to study tides and river water transport and to understand the dependence of their along-channel and vertical structure on forcings, geometry characteristics and sea level changes. The model is subsequently applied to the Yangtze Estuary to investigate tides and the distribution of river water over channels during dry and wet season, spring tide, as well as prior to and after the formation of Hengsha Passage and the construction of the Deep Waterway Project and sea level rise. Increasing river discharge enhances the friction for tides by increasing both internal and bottom stresses. Changes in tidal forcing are correlated with the friction for both tide and river. A shortcut channel reduces the water level difference in adjacent channels, as well as tidal amplitudes difference. Sea level rise results in larger friction parameters and faster propagation of tides. The distribution of river water transport is hardly affected by above mentioned changes. Model results and current vertical structure are consistent with observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104476
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Volume225
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Harmonic decomposition
  • River–tide interaction
  • Yangtze Estuary

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