Erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements in branching channels at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River

Abstract

Channel evolution and depo-center migrations in braided reaches are significantly influenced by variations in runoff. This study examines the effect of runoff variations on the erosion-deposition patterns and depocenter movements within branching channels of the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River. We assume that variations in annual mean duration days of runoff discharges, ebb partition ratios in branching channels, and the erosional/depositional rates of entire channels and sub-reaches are representative of variations in runoff intensity, flow dynamics in branching channels, and morphological features in the channels. Our results show that the north region of Fujiangsha Waterway, the Liuhaisha branch of Rugaosha Waterway, the west branch of Tongzhousha Waterway, and the west branch of Langshansha Waterway experience deposition or reduced erosion under low runoff intensity, and erosion or reduced deposition under high runoff intensity, with the depocenters moving upstream and downstream, respectively. Other waterway branches undergo opposite trends in erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements as the runoff changes. These morphological changes may be associated with trends in ebb partition ratio as the runoff discharge rises and falls. By flattening the intra-annual distribution of runoff discharge, dam construction in the Yangtze Basin has altered the ebb partition ratios in waterway branches, affecting their erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements. Present trends are likely to continue into the future due to the succession of large cascade dams under construction along the upper Yangtze and ongoing climate change.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by open funding of the Key Laboratory of Water-Sediment Sciences and Water Disaster Prevention of Hunan Province (No. 2019SS06), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Nos. 2018YFC0407201 and 2016YFC0402306), and Scientific Research Project of Hunan Provincial Department of Education (No. 16C0055).

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Correspondence to Boyuan Zhu.

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Author Biographies

Boyuan ZHU Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, B.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2011

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, Ph.D, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2017

Dr. Zhu served as a technical professional at the Zhongnan Engineering Corporation Limited of Power China during 2017–2018, before beginning his teaching position at Changsha University of Science & Technology in 2018. His research interests include sediment transport and river evolution.

The email address of Dr. Zhu is: boyuan@csust.edu.cn.

Jinyun DENG Port, Channel and River Regulation, B.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 1998

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, M.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2000

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, Ph.D, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2003

Prof. Deng began his teaching position in Wuhan University in 2003 and was appointed associate professor in 2006. His research interests include sediment transport and river evolution.

The email address of Prof. Deng is: dengjinyun@whu.edu.cn.

Jinwu TANG Port, Channel and River regulation, B.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2007

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, Ph.D, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2012

Dr. Tang is a technical professional in Changjiang Institute of Survey, Planning, Design and Research, where he has been employed since 2012. His research interests include river planning and management.

The email address of Dr. Tang is: tangjinwu1106@163.com.

Wenjun YU Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, B.S., Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an, China, 2012

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, M.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2015

Mr. Yu has been a technical professional at the Changjiang Waterway Institute of Planning, Design & Research since 2015. His research interests include river regulation and management.

The email address of Mr. Yu is: y430011@sina.cn.

Alistair G.L. BORTHWICK Civil engineering, BEng (1st class), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, 1978

PhD, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, 1982

MA, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 1990

DSc, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 2007

Prof. Borthwick was previously a professor of engineering science at the University of Oxford, from 1990 to 2011. He is currently a professorial fellow at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include coastal and offshore engineering, environmental fluid mechanics, and marine power resource assessment.

Prof. Borthwickhas 40 years’ engineering, research, and teaching experience. He was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, FICE, in 2003, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, FREng, in 2014, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, FRSE, in 2015.

His email address is: Alistair.Borthwick@ed.ac.uk.

Yuanfang CHAI Agricultural Water Conservancy Engineering, B.S., Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan, China, 2016

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, M.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2019

Mr. Chai’s research interests include sediment transport and river evolution.

His email address is: 2808676930@qq.com.

Zhaohua SUN Port, Channel and River Regulation, B.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 1999

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, Ph.D, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 2004

Prof. Sun started his teaching position at Wuhan University in 2004 and has since been appointed as associate professor. His research interests include sediment transport and river evolution.

His email address is: Lnszh@126.com.

Yitian LI Port, Channel and River Regulation, B.S., Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 1981

Hydraulics and River Dynamics, Ph.D, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 1987

Prof. Li has been employed by Wuhan University for 32 years, where he is currently a senior professor in river engineering. His research interests include sediment transport and river evolution.

Prof. Li is Vice Director of the Sediment Committee of the Chinese Hydraulic Engineering Society. He has won two Second Class Prizes for the Scientific and Technological Progress of China.

His email address is: ytli@whu.edu.cn.

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Zhu, B., Deng, J., Tang, J. et al. Erosion-deposition patterns and depo-center movements in branching channels at the near-estuary reach of the Yangtze River. Front. Earth Sci. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11707-019-0808-2

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Keywords

  • near-estuary reach
  • Yangtze River
  • runoff discharge
  • ebb partition ratio
  • erosion-deposition pattern
  • depo-center movement