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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-277
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-277
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 22 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Dynamic mechanism of extremely severe saltwater intrusion in the Changjiang Estuary occurred in February 2014

Jianrong Zhu, Linjiang Li, Hui Wu, Jinghua Gu, Hanghang Lyu, and Xinyue Cheng Jianrong Zhu et al.
  • State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai, 200241, China

Abstract. Estuarine saltwater intrusion is mainly controlled by river discharge and tide. Unexpectedly, an extremely severe saltwater intrusion event in February 2014 occurred in the Changjiang Estuary under normal river discharge conditions. It cut off the freshwater input for 23 days into the Qingcaosha Reservoir, which is the largest estuarine reservoir in the world, creating a severe threat to water safety in Shanghai. Such catastrophic saltwater intrusion has not occurred since recorded salinity in the estuary. During the event, a persistent and strong northerly wind existed, with a maximum speed of 16 m s−1, lasting ten days and coinciding with a distinct water level rise. Our study demonstrates that this extremely severe saltwater intrusion was caused by a persistent and strong northerly wind, which drove substantial landward Ekman transport to form a horizontal estuarine circulation that flowed into the North Channel and out of the South Channel. This process surpassed seaward runoff and brought very large amounts of highly saline water into the upper reaches in the North Channel. An ordinary cold front passing over the estuary cannot produce strong saltwater intrusion; only a strong northerly wind lasting 8 days can produce a severe saltwater intrusion in the Changjiang Estuary. The revealed dynamic mechanism is important to ensure safety of freshwater resource utilization in estuaries.

Jianrong Zhu et al.

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Dynamic mechanism of extremely severe saltwater intrusion in the Changjiang Estuary occurred in February 2014 J. Zhu, L. Li, H. Wu, J. Gu, H. Lyu, and X. Cheng https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5011391.v1

Jianrong Zhu et al.

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Short summary
An extremely severe saltwater intrusion event occurred in February 2014 in the Changjiang Estuary, and seriously influenced the water intake of the reservoir. For the event cause and freshwater safety, the dynamic mechanism was studied with observed data and a numerical model. The results indicated that this event was caused by a persistent and strong northerly wind, which formed a horizontal estuarine circulation, surpassed seaward runoff and drove highly saline water into the estuary.
An extremely severe saltwater intrusion event occurred in February 2014 in the Changjiang...
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