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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-256
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-256
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 03 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Analytical model captures intratidal variation of salinity in a convergent, well-mixed estuary

Yanwen Xu1,2,3, Antonius J. F. Hoitink4, Jinhai Zheng2,5, and Wei Zhang2,5 Yanwen Xu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Coastal Disasters and Defense of Ministry of Education, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
  • 2College of Harbor, Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of the Pearl River Estuarine Dynamics and Associated Process Regulation, Ministry of Water Resources, Guangzhou 510611, China
  • 4Hydrology and Quantitative, Water Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • 5State key laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China

Abstract. Knowledge of the processes governing salt intrusion in estuaries is important since it influences the eco-environment of estuaries as well as its water resource potential in many ways. Analytical models of salinity variation offer a simple and efficient method to study salt intrusion in estuaries. In this paper, an unsteady analytical solution is presented to simulate the spatial-temporal variation of salinity in convergent estuaries. It is derived from a one-dimensional advection-diffusion equation for salinity adopting a constant mixing coefficient and a single-frequency tidal wave. Compared with steady-state solutions, it can directly reflect the influence of the tide and the interaction between the tide and runoff. The deduced analytical solution is illustrated with an application to the Humen estuary of the Pearl River Delta (PRD), and proves to be an efficient and accurate approach to predicate the salt intrusion in convergent estuaries. The unsteady analytical solution is tested against six surveys made at six study sites, to validate its capability of predicating salt intrusion variation. The results show that the proposed unsteady analytical solution can be successfully used to reproduce the spatial distribution and temporal processes governing salinity dynamics in convergent, well-mixed estuaries. Meanwhile, this predictive equation provides a quick and convenient approach to decide upon water fetching works to make good use of water resources.

Yanwen Xu et al.
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Short summary
A new, unsteady analytical solution is presented to simulate the spatiotemporal variation of salinity in convergent, well-mixed estuaries. A first application in the Pearl River Estuary shows it to be an efficient approach to predict salt intrusion dynamics with a satisfying accuracy. The model can be used to decide upon water fetching works related to drinking water supply. Scientifically, the model explains and quantifies the time difference between salinity at HWS and the maximum salinity.
A new, unsteady analytical solution is presented to simulate the spatiotemporal variation of...
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