Numerical Study of Hydrodynamics and Water Quality in Qinhuangdao Coastal Waters, China: Implication for Pollutant Loadings Management


Protecting coastal area marine environments from pollution is critical to ensure sustainable development. However, the hydrodynamic and water environmental characteristics of many coastal waters are poorly understood. Furthermore, the levels of pollutants loading into coastal waters are rarely quantified. In this study, a hydrodynamic and pollutant transport model (based on MIKE 21 modules) was established in Qinhuangdao coastal waters, China. The simulated hydrodynamics and water quality parameters were highly congruent with measured values, exhibiting error levels below 20%. In Qinhuangdao coastal waters, the seawater flows primarily from southwest to northeast along the coast, with velocities in the range 0–0.4 m/s and 0–0.3 m/s during flood and ebb tides, respectively. Results from this study indicated that these waters were characterized by a weak tidal current, with mean velocities varying in the range 0–0.5 m/s. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration of the coastal waters was in the range 0.1–3.7 mg/L, and the COD pollutants were diffused approximately 3–10 km off the coastline. The water environment carrying capacity (WECC) at each point source was also calculated based on the response coefficients; further, WECC in Qinhuangdao coastal waters was calculated at 544.01 t/a and 1088.02 t/a under two Chinese water quality levels (levels I and II), respectively. The results provided specific valuable information for controlling pollutants from rivers into coastal waters and managing the Qinhuangdao coastal waters environment.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. 1.

    Bedri, Z., Corkery, A., O'Sullivan, J. J., Deering, L. A., Demeter, K., Meijer, W. G., & Masterson, B. (2016). Evaluating a microbial water quality prediction model for beach management under the revised EU bathing water directive[J]. Journal of Environmental Management, 167, 49–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Cao, L., & Fox, A. D. (2009). Birds and people both depend on China's wetlands[J]. Nature, 460(7252), 173.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Chen, C. L., Zuo, J. C., Chen, M. X., Gao, Z. G., & Shum, C. K. (2014). Sea level change under IPCC-A2 scenario in Bohai, yellow, and East China seas[J]. Water Science & Engineering, 7(4), 446–456.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Davies, S., Mirfenderesk, H., Tomlinson, R., & Szylkarski, S. (2009). Hydrodynamic, water quality and sediment transport modeling of estuarine and coastal waters on the Gold Coast Australia[J]. Journal of Coastal Research, 25(1), 937–941.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Feng L, Ruijie L, Peng H (2008) 3D hydrodynamic and water quality simulation of North Jiangsu Offshore Sea based on EFDC. International Conference on Bioinformatics & Biomedical Engineering. IEEE

  6. 6.

    Gu, J., Hu, C. F., Kuang, C. P., Kolditz, O., Shao, H. B., Zhang, J. B., & Liu, H. X. (2016). A water quality model applied for the rivers into the Qinhuangdao coastal water in the Bohai Sea, China[J]. Journal of Hydrodynamics, Ser. B, 28(5), 905–913.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Gu, J., Li, Z. Y., Mao, X. D., Hu, C. F., & Kuang, C. P. (2017). Study of COD environmental capacity in coastal waters of Beidaihe in summer[J]. Chinese Journal of Marine Environmental Science, 36(5), 682–687.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Han, J., Shen, Y., Su, M., & Yu, C. (2018). Numerical simulation of hydrodynamic and water quality effects of shoreline changes in Bohai Bay[J]. Frontiers of Earth Science, 12(2), 1–15.

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Hu, C., Muller-Karger, F. E., Vargo, G. A., Neely, M. B., & Johns, E. (2004). Linkages between coastal runoff and the Florida keys ecosystem: A study of a dark plume event. Geophysical Research Letters, 31(15), L15307.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Iglesias I, Avilez-Valente P, Pinho J L, Bio A, Vieira J. M, Bastos L, Veloso-Gomes F (2019) Numerical modeling tools applied to estuarine and coastal hydrodynamics: A user perspective. Coastal and Marine Environments-Physical Processes and Numerical Modelling[J]. IntechOpen

  11. 11.

    Ji, H., Pan, S., & Han, L. (2013). Effect of wastewater discharge on Jiangsu coastal environment, China[J]. Journal of Coastal Research, 65, 54–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Klein, M., Symonds, A., Zijlema, M., Messiter, D., & Dufour, M. (2017). Swash modelling of a coastal protection scheme. Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 1(35), 2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Kuang, C. P., Hu, C. F., Mao, X. D., & Gu, J. (2015). Numerical simulation of hydrodynamics and pollutant transport in Qinhuangdao coastal water in the flood season. Journal of Tongji University (Natural Science) [J], 43(9), 1355–1360 (in Chinese).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Lin, H., Chen, Z., Hu, J., Cucco, A., Zhu, J., Sun, Z., & Huang, L. (2017). Numerical simulation of the hydrodynamics and water exchange in Sansha Bay[J]. Ocean Engineering, 139, 85–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Liu, S., Lou, S., Kuang, C., Huang, W., Chen, W., Zhang, J., & Zhong, G. (2011). Water quality assessment by pollution-index method in the coastal waters of Hebei Province in western Bohai Sea, China[J]. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62(10), 2220–2229.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Lu, J., Chen, X., Tian, L., Tian, L., & Zhang, W. (2014). Numerical simulation-aided MODIS capture of sediment transport for the Bohai Sea in China[J]. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 35(11–12), 4225–4238.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Mao, X. D., Kuang, C. P., Gu, J., Kolditz, O., Chen, K., Zhang, J. L., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Analysis of chlorophyll-a correlation to determine nutrient limitations in the coastal waters of the Bohai Sea, China[J]. Journal of Coastal Research, 33(2), 396–407.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Mao, X. D., Kuang, C. P., Gu, J., Kolditz, O., Chen, K., Zhang, J. B., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Analysis of chlorophyll-a correlation to determine nutrient limitations in the coastal waters of the Bohai Sea, China[J]. Journal of Coastal Research, 33(2), 396–407.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (2012) Yolo Bypass MIKE-21 model review: Strengths, limitations and recommendations for refinement

  20. 20.

    Sutherland, J., Walstra, D. J. R., Chesher, T. J., SVan Rijn, L. C., & Southgate, H. N. (2004). Evaluation of coastal area modelling systems at an estuary mouth[J]. Coastal Engineering, 51(2), 119–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Tao, J. H. (2006). Numerical simulation of aquatic Eco-environment of Bohai bay[J]. Journal of Hydrodynamics. Series B, 18(3-supp-S), 34–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Vyrides, I., & Stuckey, D. C. (2009). A modified method for the determination of chemical oxygen demand (COD) for samples with high salinity and low organics. Bioresource Technology, 100(2), 979–982.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Wang, S. D., Shen, Y. M., Guo, Y. K., & Tang, J. (2008). Three-dimensional numerical simulation for transport of oil spills in seas[J]. Ocean Engineering, 35(5), 503–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Wang, Y., Gao, T., Han, Z., & Liu, Q. (2017). Impacts of wind-field correction on the numerical simulation of storm-surge inundation during typhoon “Rammasun” [J]. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 196, 198–206.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Xu, Q., Li, X., Wei, Y., Tang, Z., Cheng, Y., & Pichel, W. G. (2013). Satellite observations and modeling of oil spill trajectories in the Bohai Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 71(1–2), 107–116.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Yu Y, Zhang H, Spencer D, Spencer, D, Dunn, R J, Lemckert C. An investigation of dispersion characteristics in shallow coastal waters [J]. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 2016, 180:21–32.

  27. 27.

    Zhang, R., Xin, Q., Yuan, X., Ye, R., Xia, B., & Wang, Y. (2012). Simulation of water environmental capacity and pollution load reduction using QUAL2K for water environmental management. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 9(12), 4504–4521.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Zhang, R., Qian, X., Zhu, W., Gao, H., Hu, W., & Wang, J. (2014). Simulation and evaluation of pollution load reduction scenarios for water environmental management: A case study of inflow river of Taihu Lake. China. Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(5), 9306–9324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Zhang, L., Lin, W., Li, K., Sheng, J., Wei, A., Luo, F., & Zhang, L. (2016). Three-dimensional water quality model based on FVCOM for total load control management in Guan River Estuary, northern Jiangsu Province[J]. Journal of Ocean University of China, 15(2), 261–270.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Zhang M, Xu Y, Qiao H. Numerical study of hydrodynamic and solute transport with discontinuous flows in coastal water[J]. Environmental Modeling & Assessment, 2018, 23(4): 353–367..

  31. 31.

    Zhu, Y., & Chen, Q. (2005). On the origin of the radial sand ridges in the southern Yellow Sea: Results from the modeling of the Paleoradial tidal current fields off the paleo-Yangtze River estuary and northern Jiangsu coast[J]. Journal of Coastal Research, 216(6), 1245–1256.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Zhu, G., Xu, X., Ma, Z., Xu, L., & Porter, J. H. (2012). Spatial dynamics and zoning of coastal land-use change along Bohai Bay, China, during 1979–2008[J]. Journal of Coastal Research, 28(5), 1186–1196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Zhu, Z., Xue, J., Deng, Y., Chen, L., & Liu, J. (2016). Trace metal contamination in surface sediments of intertidal zone from Qinhuangdao, China, revealed by geochemical and magnetic approaches: Distribution, sources, and health risk assessment[J]. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 105(1), 422–429.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51879278), IWHR Research & Development Support Program (Grant No. WE0145B782017, WE0145B342016, WE0145B592017, WE0145B422019), and Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering (Grant No. Skhl1825).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiaobo Liu.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Huang, W., Ma, W., Liu, X. et al. Numerical Study of Hydrodynamics and Water Quality in Qinhuangdao Coastal Waters, China: Implication for Pollutant Loadings Management. Environ Model Assess 26, 63–76 (2021).

Download citation


  • Qinhuangdao coastal waters
  • Water environment capacity
  • Share ratio
  • MIKE 21