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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-36
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-36
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  10 Jul 2020

10 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

The impact of shoreline change on the salinity distribution in the wetlands of Liao River Estuary, China

Mingliang Zhang1, Tianping Xu1,2, and Hengzhi Jiang3 Mingliang Zhang et al.
  • 1School of Marine Science and Environment, Dalian Ocean University, Dalian, China
  • 2School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • 3National Marine Environment Monitoring Center, Dalian, China

Abstract. The wetland of Liao River Estuary in northeast China is one of the best-preserved wetlands across the globe. However, it is extremely vulnerable to hydrological changes as well as other disturbances, particularly upstream river discharges and the reclamation from anthropogenic activities. In this study, a 3D hydrodynamic model (FVCOM) was used to reproduce the flow patterns of the Liao River Estuary and to explore the variation in salinity under different scenarios. Furthermore, the impact of river discharge and shoreline changes on the salinity distribution in the Liao River Estuary were quantitatively analyzed and discussed through several simulation experiments. The model reasonably reconstructed the spatio-temporal variability and distribution of salinity in the Liao River Estuary and the wetlands across intertidal areas. Increases in runoff were demonstrated to significantly decrease the mean salinity values of the estuary, with changes in salinity negatively correlated to the longitudinal distance from the estuary mouth. Moreover, the shoreline change caused by the construction of Panjin Port was observed to have an obvious influence on the salinity distribution of the Liao River Estuary, particularly in the lower reaches of the Pink Beach Wetland. Comparisons of the Liao River Estuary residual flow fields under different shorelines revealed that the establishment of the port resulted in the diffusion of the runoff from the Daliao River due to the obstruction of the port body, which enhanced the tidal mixing effect and consequently weakened the dilution effect of fresh water entering the Pink Beach Wetland. Overall, the current study should be helpful for offering a greater understanding of Suaeda heteroptera vegetation degradation in the Liao River Estuary, China, this work also provides a new perspective in investigating the degradation mechanism in other estuarine wetlands.

Mingliang Zhang et al.

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Short summary
In this paper, we applied FVCOM to perform the numerical simulation of salinity in Liao River estuary waters, with consideration of effects of river discharge cutoff and shoreline variation. Decrease in runoff was demonstrated to significantly increase the mean salinity values of the estuary. The shoreline change caused by the port construction was observed to have an obvious influence on salinity distribution patterns, with the mean salinity value increased in wetland waters near the port.
In this paper, we applied FVCOM to perform the numerical simulation of salinity in Liao River...
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