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Hydrodynamic and sediment transport modelling in the Pearl River Estuary and adjacent Chinese coastal zone during Typhoon Mangkhut
Yang, Y.; Guan, W.; Deleersnijder, E.; He, Z. (2022). Hydrodynamic and sediment transport modelling in the Pearl River Estuary and adjacent Chinese coastal zone during Typhoon Mangkhut. Cont. Shelf Res. 233: 104645.
In: Continental Shelf Research. Pergamon Press: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0278-4343; e-ISSN 1873-6955, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Sediment transport; Typhoon; Pearl River Estuary; SCHISM; Numerical modelling

Authors  Top 
  • Yang, Y.
  • Guan, W.
  • Deleersnijder, E., more
  • He, Z.

    Typhoon Mangkhut, in 2018, was one of the worst typhoons in recent history that has made landfall in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) China. It swept along the coast of Guangdong Province, causing severe damage to many areas and affecting more than one million people. To study the hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics in different sub-regions of the PRE during the typhoon, we implemented a 3D wave-current-sediment coupled ocean model based on the Semi-implicit Cross-scale Hydroscience Integrated System Model (SCHISM). A series of numerical experiments were conducted to study the variation in suspended sediment concentration (SSC) under different external forcing mechanisms, including tides, waves, river discharges and strong winds. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images, collected after the typhoon landed, were used to assess the simulation results. We found that in the area where the water depth was shallower than 20 m, the increased total suspended sediment concentration was dominated by the regional erosion of fine sediment which was caused by near-bottom wave orbital velocity and bottom shear stress, especially at the four western outlets and along the western coast of the PRE. For the deeper coastal zone, at depths between 20 and 30 m offshore of the western coast, the high total SSC resulted from the contribution of fine sediment transported from the upper and middle estuaries by southwestward advection. A small amount of sand eroded and migrated locally, owing to the corresponding increase in the bottom shear stress. The variation in SSC during the typhoon had a time lag compared with other dynamic conditions, resulting in a maximum 1 h delayed response after the typhoon made landfall. Based on the results of the sensitivity experiments under the same typhoon conditions, we found that, as a result of wave-enhanced bottom shear stress, the SSC values associated with wave-current interaction were significantly higher, by as much as 1.5 and 1.3 times those of simulations without the waves at the surface and near-bottom layers, respectively. This indicated that the sediment resuspension induced by waves was important during typhoon landfall. However, the strong wind-induced current was weakened owing to the joint effect of wave radiation stress and enhanced bottom stress; thus, considering wave effects, the magnitude of the resulting sediment transport rate was smaller than that without considering wave effects, especially in shallow waters. During the approach, landfall and retreat of Typhoon Mangkhut, Lingding Bay experienced two transitions from a slight state of sediment loss to a relatively high state of sediment gain, followed by an even greater state of sediment loss. During an M2 tidal cycle after Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall, the net seaward suspended load sediment transport in Lingding Bay reached 0.37 megatonnes. For the typhoon period covering three M2 tidal cycles, the overall state of suspended load sediment transport in Lingding Bay was sediment loss, with the magnitude of sediment loss on the west side being larger than that of sediment gain on the east side. The magnitude of the overall sediment loss in Lingding Bay would be enlarged unrealistically by approximately 73% if the wave effects were excluded. In each period, the extent of sediment transport between the two sides of the bay was strengthened by the wave-current interaction under typhoon conditions. We determined that the net effect of wave-current interaction and strong wind-induced currents under typhoon conditions was a key factor for erosion, which resulted in SSC-influenced areas being approximately 8.7 and 4.4 times as large as those under normal weather conditions for the surface and near-bottom layers, respectively. The turbidity maximum moved from the West Shoal of Lingding Bay under normal weather to the Modaomen Estuary, which was the most affected area during the typhoon when wave effects were considered. We also showed that the relative location of the typhoon path with respect to the estuary had a more significant effect on erosion than the intensity of the typhoon.

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