Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 63, Issue 6, pp 709–722 | Cite as

Modeling the Yellow River sediment flux and its deposition patterns under climatological conditions

  • Jing Lu
  • Fangli Qiao
  • Xiaohua Wang
  • Yong Teng
  • Kyung Tae Jung
  • Yanguang Liu
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 4th International Workshop on Modelling the Ocean in Yokohama, Japan 21–24 May 2012


A numerical sediment transport model was embedded into a coupled wave-tide-circulation model to quantitatively estimate the suspended sediment fluxes (SSF) and distribution in different areas for the Yellow River derived sediment. The model is validated by comparing model simulated sediment deposition rates with those from observations. Simulated results show that the SSF of the Yellow River across two major sections (the Bohai Strait and the 37° N section) are highest during September and October, whereas for the 32° N section the flux is negligibly small (less than 0.1 kg/s). We demonstrate that the sediment flux is primarily driven by the buoyancy forcing of the Yellow River freshwater discharge and modulated by the wind-driven surface wave and circulation patterns in this region. The SSF across the Bohai Strait is about 30 % of the Yellow River discharge, while across the 37° N section it is 15.8 %. Therefore, about 70 % of the total discharged Yellow River sediments are deposited in the Bohai Sea, 14.1 % in the North Yellow Sea, and 13.9 % in the South Yellow Sea. There are two deposition branches in the Yellow Sea. The primary one is located off the eastern tip of the Shandong Peninsula and extends to the southwest off the coastline, which is consistent with the observed “Ω”-shape deposition pattern. This simulated tongue shape deposition pattern is isolated from the north by the strong resuspension off the eastern tip of Shandong Peninsula. The secondary branch extends to the middle of the South Yellow Sea and has been strengthened by resuspension process. The two deposition branches are separated by the wintertime Yellow Sea Warm Current in the bottom layer.


Sediment dynamics Deposition Resuspension Vertical mixing Yellow River 


  1. Alexander CR, DeMaster DJ, Nittrouer CA (1991) Sediment accumulation in a modern epicontinental-shelf setting: the Yellow Sea. Mar Geol 98(1):51–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bever AJ, Harris CK, Sherwood CR, Signell RP (2009) Deposition and flux of sediment from the Po River, Italy: an idealized and wintertime numerical modeling study. Mar Geol 260(1–4):69–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bi N, Yang Z, Wang H, Fan D, Sun X, Lei K (2011) Seasonal variation of suspended-sediment transport through the southern Bohai Strait, Estuarine. Coastal and Shelf Science 93(3):239–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumberg AF, Mellor GL (1987) A description of a three-dimensional coastal ocean circulation model, in three-dimensional Coastal Ocean Models. Coastal and Estuarine Sciences 4:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Editorial Board for Marine Atlas (1993). The Marine Atlas of the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and East China Sea. China Ocean Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  6. Fang GH, Wei ZX, Cui BH, Wang K, Fang Y, Li W (2002) Inter-regional water, heat and salinity transprt in China offshore: global model results of variable meshes Science in China. Ser D 32(12):969–977 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  7. Fang GH, Wang YG, Wei ZX, Choi BH, Wang XY, Wang J (2004) Empirical cotidal charts of the Bohai, Yellow, and East China Seas from 10 years of TOPEX/Poseidon altimetry. J Geophys Res 109(C11).Google Scholar
  8. Flather RA (1976) A tidal model of the northwest European continental shelf. Memoires Societe Royale des Sciences de Liege 6(10):141–164Google Scholar
  9. Grant WD, Madsen OS (1979) Combined wave and current interaction with a rough bottom. J Geophys Res 84(C4):1797–1808Google Scholar
  10. Harris CK, Sherwood CR, Signell RP, Bever AJ, Warner JC (2008) Sediment dispersal in the Northwestern Adriatic Sea. J Geophys Res 113(C11S03)Google Scholar
  11. Jiang WS, Pohlmann T, Sundermann J, Feng SZ (2000) A modeling study of SPM transport in the Bohai Sea. J Mar Syst 24(3–4):175–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jiang W, Pohlmann T, Sun J, Starke A (2004) SPM transport in the Bohai Sea: field experiments and numerical modeling. J Mar Syst 44(3–4):175–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Liu YS, Chen SL, Li JF (2005) Patterns of variations in the water and sediment fluxes from the Yellow River to the estuary. Marine Science Bulletin 24(6):1–8, in Chinese, with English abstractGoogle Scholar
  14. Liu JP, Xu KH, Li AC, Milliman JD, Velozzi DM, Xiao SB, Yang ZS (2007) Flux and fate of Yangtze River sediment delivered to the East China Sea. Geomorphology 85(3–4):208–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lü XG, Qiao FL, Xia CS, Wang GS, Yuan YL (2010) Upwelling and surface cold patches in the Yellow Sea in summer: effects of tidal mixing on the vertical circulation. Continental Shelf Research 30(6):620–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lu J, Qiao FL, Wang XH, Wang YG, Teng Y, Xia CS (2011) A numerical study of transport dynamics and seasonal variability of the Yellow River sediment in the Bohai and Yellow seas. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 95(1):39–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ma J, Qiao F, Xia C, Kim CS (2006) Effects of the Yellow Sea Warm Current on the winter temperature distribution in a numerical model. J Geophys Res 111(C11S04)Google Scholar
  18. Martin JM, Zhang J, Shi MC, Zhou Q (1993) Actual flux of the Huanghe (Yellow River) sediment to the western Pacific Ocean. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 31(3):243–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pohlmann T, Puls W (1994) Currents and transport in waters.Circulation and contaminant fluxes in the North Sea. In: Suendermann J (ed) Circulation and contaminant fluxes in the North Sea. Springer, Berlin, pp 345–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Qiao FL, Yuan YL, Yang YZ, Zheng QA, Xia CS, Ma J (2004) Wave-induced mixing in the upper ocean: distribution and application to a global ocean circulation model. Geophys Res Lett 31(11), L11303Google Scholar
  21. Shu Q, Qiao FL, Song ZY, Xia CS, Yang YZ (2011) Improvement of MOM4 by including surface wave-induced vertical mixing. Ocean Model 40(1):42–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Van Maren DS (2005) Barrierformation on an activelyprogradingdelta system: the RedRiverDelta, Vietnam. Mar Geol 224(1–4):123–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wang XH (2002) Tide-induced sediment resuspension and the bottom boundary layer in an idealized estuary. J Phys Oceanogr 32:3113–3131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wang XH, Pinardi N (2002) Modeling the dynamics of sediment transport and resuspension in the Northern Adriatic Sea. J Geophys Res 107(C12):3225. doi:10.1029/2001JC001303 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wang XH, Pinardi N, Malacicc V (2007) Sediment transport and resuspension due to combined motion of wave and current in the northern Adriatic Sea during a Bora event in January 2001: a numerical modelling study. Cont Shelf Res 27(5):613–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wang XH, Qiao FL, Lu J, Gong F (2011) The turbidity maxima of the northern Jiangsu shoal-water in the Yellow Sea, China. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 93(3):202–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Xia CS, Qiao FL, Yang YZ, Ma J, Yuan YL (2006) Three-dimensional structure of the summertime circulation in the Yellow Sea from a wave-tide-circulation coupled model. J Geophys Res 111: C11S03Google Scholar
  28. Xu RY, Zhao BR, Huang JZ, Yang YL, Lei FH (2006) The mean residual circulations in the Bohai Sea. Marine Sciences 30(11):47–52, in Chinese, with English abstractGoogle Scholar
  29. Xu K, Harris CK, Hetland RD, Kaihatu J (2011) Dispersal of Mississippi and Atchafalaya sediment on the Texas-Louisiana shelf: model estimates for the year 1993. Cont Shelf Res 31(15):1558–1575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Xue Z, He RY, Liu JP, Warner JC (2012) Modeling transport and deposition of the Mekong River sediment. Cont Shelf Res 37:66–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yang ZS, Liu JP (2007) A unique Yellow River-derived distal subaqueous delta in the Yellow Sea. Mar Geol 240(1):169–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yang Z, Ji Y, Bi N (2011) Sediment transport off the Huanghe (Yellow River) delta and in the adjacent Bohai Sea in winter and seasonal comparison. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 93(3):3–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhao BR, Cao DM (1998) Dynamic analysis and numerical modeling of forming mechanisms of winter circulations in the Bohai Sea. Oceanologia et Limnoligia Sinica 29(1):86–96, in Chinese, with English abstractGoogle Scholar
  34. Zheng QA, Fang GH, Song YT (2006) Introduction to special section: dynamics and circulation of the yellow, East, and South China Seas. J Geophys Res 111:C11S01Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Lu
    • 1
  • Fangli Qiao
    • 1
  • Xiaohua Wang
    • 2
  • Yong Teng
    • 1
  • Kyung Tae Jung
    • 3
  • Yanguang Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.First Institute of OceanographyState Oceanic AdministrationQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical SciencesUniversity of New South Wales at Australian Defence Force AcademyCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST)AnsanSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations