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Impact of river discharge on hydrodynamics and sedimentary processes at Yellow River Delta

Ji, Hongyu, Pan, Shunqi and Chen, Shenliang 2020. Impact of river discharge on hydrodynamics and sedimentary processes at Yellow River Delta. Marine Geology 425 , 106210. 10.1016/j.margeo.2020.106210
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During the Anthropocene, regulating river discharge by high dams may have met the need for water demands in river basins, but resulted in carrying less freshwater and sediment to the sea, inducing land degradation and shoreline retreat in worldwide mega-river deltas. In land-ocean interaction, tide response to water discharge changes plays an important role and is crucial for the river-laden sediment transfer and dispersal, affecting both nearshore and estuarine deposits. The Yellow River Delta (YRD), which is under an increasing pressure of the new discharge regime of the Yellow River, has undergone drastic changes in terms of sediment dynamics and morphologic evolution. To gain a better understanding of the overall fluvial and marine hydrodynamics and morphodynamic processes in the YRD, in this study, a full-scale numerical model is built to investigate the interaction and impacts of changing environmental forcing and dynamics on flow and sediment transport in the estuary of YRD and its adjacent coasts. The results show that the river discharge strongly affects the tidal dynamics and morphology of the delta, particularly in the close vicinity of the outlet and the intertidal zone. Tidal constituents M2 and K1, which are the most significant ones in the YRD, are found to be noticeably affected with a decreasing trend when the river discharge increases. The model results also indicate that river discharge affects the location and intensity of the shear front that occurs in the nearshore areas of the YRD. Increasing the river discharge can induce a seaward movement of the shear front, reduce its width and concentrate its shear intensity. It is found that the reverse of the flow direction at each side of the shear front and strong longshore tidal current can act as a barrier for the sediment dispersal process by keeping suspended sediment in the inner zone, thus to form a particular sediment deposition zone and the depo-center.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0025-3227
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 22 April 2020
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 21:58

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