Local human activities overwhelm decreased sediment supply from the Changjiang River: Continued rapid accumulation in the Hangzhou Bay-Qiantang Estuary system

Dongfeng Xie, Cunhong Pan, Xiuguang Wu, Shu Gao, Zheng Bing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

We investigate the morphological responses of the Hangzhou Bay, China, located immediately south of the Changjiang Estuary, to the drastic reduction of the sediment load from the Changjiang River and the large-scale coastal embankment schemes over past decades. The spatial patterns of deposition and erosion, sediment volume changes, and the hydrodynamic and sediment dynamic feedback were analyzed, on the basis of historical bathymetric and hydrographic data. The results show that the sedimentation rates in the bay have generally increased rather than decreased over the past decades, despite bed erosion having occurred in the northern bay-mouth. This observation reveals that the influence of the reduction in the Changjiang River sediment supply on the morphological evolution of Hangzhou Bay has to date been insignificant, mainly due to the buffering effect of existing sediment in the outer Changjiang Estuary. The morphological change is mainly related to the implementation process of the coastal embankment. Sediment accumulation induced by progressive seaward coastal embankment has resulted in seaward aggradation from the Qiantang Estuary towards Hangzhou Bay. Analysis of the annually-averaged high and low tidal levels, and durations of rising and falling tides reveals that flood dominance in the inner bay has been increased, due to the coastal embankment and sediment accumulation. The ratio between annually-averaged rising tide and falling tide durations have decreased from 0.85 to 0.63. The tidal prism at the interface between the inner and outer bay has decreased by about 25% since the 1980s, while the net landward sediment flux has been intensified to a certain extent, which is responsible for the intensifying sedimentation in the inner bay. The local human activities have overwhelm the decreased sediment from the Changjiang River. Although the coastal embankment will cease in the near future, the morphological response to human activities is expected to continue on for a longer time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-77
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Geology
Volume392
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Changjiang Estuary
  • Hangzhou Bay
  • Morphology
  • Sediment load
  • Sediment transport
  • Tidal asymmetry

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