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Fluvial sediment source to sink transfer at the Yellow River Delta: Quantifications, causes, and environmental impacts

Ji, Hongyu, Chen, Shenliang, Pan, Shunqi, Xu, Congliang, Tian, Yuanyuan, Li, Peng, Liu, Qinglan and Chen, Lijin 2022. Fluvial sediment source to sink transfer at the Yellow River Delta: Quantifications, causes, and environmental impacts. Journal of Hydrology 608 , 127622. 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.127622
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Intensified human interventions in river basins and deltas lead to more complexities of environmental changes during the Anthropocene. Changes in river regime especially a dramatic reduction in sediment delivery increase challenges of the morphological and ecological sustainability of river deltas. In evaluating deltaic risks and sustainable solutions, researches are often limited to single geomorphic units of the deltaic system, and investigations of sediment source to sink transfer at river deltas under recent river regimes are often missing. The Yellow River Delta (YRD) presents as a typical megadelta under stressors induced by changing environments. This study utilizes a period of 20-yr high-resolution topography data of the deltaic channel and its subaqueous delta to investigate sediment transport and source to sink process by integrated methods of field measurements and numerical simulations. The results indicate that the deltaic channel has transitioned from net accretion to erosion after the implementation of the Water-Sediment Regulation Scheme (WSRS) in 2002. The active river mouth experienced a slow accretion phase since the river channel diverted to Qing 8 channel, with a reduced vertical deposition rate of 0.15 m/yr, whilst its adjacent Gudong littoral zone had a −0.11 m/yr erosion rate. Under the new fluvial regime, the river-borne suspended sediment tends to transport southwards to the Laizhou Bay, followed by the river-derived sediment transport eastward and northward to the offshore delta. It is clear that with the continued human activities in the region, the YRD is at the potential state of deltaic transition both in the deltaic channel and its subaqueous delta. This transition is believed to be beneficial to the deltaic channel stability, but it could significantly impact on the geomorphic and ecologic sustainability of the entire deltaic system.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-1694
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 April 2022
Date of Acceptance: 11 February 2022
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 17:36

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