The Changjiang River (CR) is divided into a southern branch (SB) and a northern branche (NB) by Chongming Island as the river enters the East China Sea. Observations reveal that during the dry season the saltwater in the inner shelf of the East China Sea flows into the CR through the NB and forms an isolated mass of saltwater in the upstream area of the SB. The physical mechanism causing this saltwater intrusion has been studied using the high-resolution unstructured-grid Finite-Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM). The results suggest that the intrusion is caused by a complex nonlinear interaction process in relation to the freshwater flux upstream, tidal currents, mixing, wind, and the salt distribution in the inner shelf of the East China Sea. The tidal rectification, resulting from the interaction of the convergence or divergence of tidal momentum flux and bottom friction over abrupt topography, produces a net upstreamward volume flux from NB to SB. With river discharge the net water transport in the NB is driven through a momentum balance of surface elevation gradient forcing, horizontal advection, and vertical diffusion. In the dry season, reducing the surface elevation gradient forcing makes tidal rectification a key process favorable for the saltwater intrusion. A northerly wind tends to enhance the saltwater intrusion by reducing the seaward surface elevation gradient forcing rather than either the baroclinic pressure gradient forcing or the wind-driven Ekman transport. A convergence experiment suggests that high grid resolution ($100 m or less) is required to correctly resolve the net water transport through the NB, particularly in the narrow channel on the northern coast of Chongming Island.
Simulating the sediment transport in a high‐turbidity region with spatially varying bed properties is challenging. A comprehensive strategy that integrates multiple methods is applied here to retrieve the critical shear stress for erosion, which plays a major role in suspended sediment dynamics in the Changjiang Estuary (CE). Time‐series of sea surface suspended sediment concentration (SSC) were retrieved from the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager (GOCI) satellite data at hourly intervals (for 8 h each day) and combined with hydrodynamic modeling of high‐resolution CE Finite‐Volume Community Ocean Model (CE‐FVCOM) to estimate the near‐bed critical shear stress in the clay‐dominated bed region (plasticity index > 7%). An experimental algorithm to determine the in situ critical shear stress via the plasticity index method was also used to verify the GOCI‐derived critical shear stress. Implemented with this new critical shear stress, the sediment transport model significantly improved the simulation of the distribution and spatial variability of the SSC during the spring and neap tidal cycles in the CE. The results suggest that a significant lateral water exchange between channels and shoals occurred during the spring flood tide, which led to a broader high‐SSC area in the CE throughout the water column.
The concentrated benthic suspension (CBS) of mud, as a major contributor of sediment transport in the turbidity maximum of the estuary, is of great challenge to be correctly monitored through field measurements, and its formation mechanism is not well understood. A tripod system equipped with multiple instruments was deployed to measure the near‐bed hydrodynamics and sediments in the North Passage of the Changjiang Estuary, with the aim at determining the formation mechanisms of CBS. The measurements detected a significant dominance of high sediment concentration in the near‐bed 1‐m layer: ~20 g/L at the southern site and ~47 g/L at the northern site. Strong CBS occurred under weak tidal mixing condition and was directly relevant to the sediment‐induced suppression of turbulent kinetic energy and the enhanced water stratification due to saltwater intrusion and sediment suspension. During the weak‐mixing neap period, the typical thickness of CBS was about 0.2–0.3 m, with a life time of ~2.83 hr (suspended‐sediment concentration > 15.0 g/L). Enhanced water stratification reduced vertical mixing and confined the sediment entrainment from the near‐bed layer to the upper column. This enhancement was due to the suppression of turbulent kinetic energy as a result of the sediment accumulation in the near‐bottom column during the slack waterand also due to the appearance of a two‐layer salinity structure in the vertical as a result of saltwater intrusion near the bottom. These physical processes worked as a positive feedback loop during the formation of CBS and can be simulated with a process‐oriented, one‐dimensional vertical CBS model.
An effort was made to couple FVCOM (a three-dimensional (3D), unstructured grid, Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model) and FVCOM-SWAVE (an unstructured grid, finite-volume surface wave model) for the study of nearshore ocean processes such as tides, circulation, storm surge, waves, sediment transport, and morphological evolution. The coupling between FVCOM and FVCOM-SWAVE was achieved through incorporating 3D radiation stress, wave-current-sediment-related bottom boundary layer, sea surface stress parameterizations, and morphology process. FVCOM also includes a 3D sediment transport module. With accurate fitting of irregular coastlines, the model provides a unique tool to study sediment dynamics in coastal ocean, estuaries, and wetlands where local geometries are characterized by inlets, islands, and intertidal marsh zones. The model was validated by two standard benchmark tests: 1) spectral waves approaching a mild sloping beach and 2) morphological changes of seabed in an idealized tidal inlet. In Test 1, model results were compared with both analytical solutions and laboratory experiments. A further comparison was also made with the structured grid Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS), which provides an insight into the performance of the two models with the same open boundary forcing.
Sea level rise (SLR) and subsidence are expected to increase the risk of flooding and reliance on flood defenses for cities built on deltas. Here, we combine reliability analysis with hydrodynamic modeling to quantify the effect of projected relative SLR on dike failures and flood hazards for Shanghai, one of the most exposed delta cities. We find that flood inundation is likely to occur in low‐lying and poorly protected periurban/rural areas of the city even under the present‐day sea level. However, without adaptation measures, the risk increases by a factor of 3–160 across the densely populated floodplain under projected SLR to 2100. Impacts of frequent flood events are predicted to be more affected by SLR than those with longer return periods. Our results imply that including reliability‐based dike failures in flood simulations enables more credible flood risk assessment for global delta cities where conventional methods have assumed either overtopping only or complete failure.
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