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Wang X.H.,Australian Defence Force Academy | Wang H.,Ocean University of China | Wang H.,State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research SKLEC
Ocean Dynamics | Year: 2010

Tidal straining effect on sediment transport dynamics in the Huanghe (Yellow River) estuary was studied by field observations and numerical simulations. The measurement of salinity, suspended sediment concentration, and current velocity was conducted during a flood season in 1995 at the Huanghe river mouth with six fishing boats moored at six stations for 25-h hourly time series observations. Based on the measurements, the intra-tidal variations of sediment transport in the highly turbid river mouth was observed and the tidal straining effect occurred. Our study showed that tidal straining of longitudinal sediment concentration gradients can contribute to intra-tidal variability in sediment stratification and to asymmetries in sediment distribution within a tidal cycle. In particular, the tidal straining effect in the Huanghe River estuary strengthened the sediment-induced stratification at the flood tide, thus producing a higher bottom sediment concentration than that during the ebb. A sediment transport model that is capable of simulating sediment-induced stratification effect on the hydrodynamics in the bottom boundary layers and associated density currents was applied to an idealized estuary to demonstrate the processes and to discuss the mechanism. The model-predicted sediment processes resembled the observed characteristics in the Huanghe River estuary. We concluded that tidal straining effect is an important but poorly understood mechanism in the transport dynamics of cohesive sediments in turbid estuaries and coastal seas. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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