Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 1904–1923 | Cite as

Effects of Wave–Current Interaction on Salt Intrusion During a Typhoon Event in a Highly Stratified Estuary

  • Wenping Gong
  • Yunzhen Chen
  • Heng Zhang
  • Zhaoyun Chen


Wave–current interaction (WCI) is important in modulating hydrodynamics and water mixing in estuaries, and thereby the transport of water-borne materials. However, the effects of WCI on salt transport and salt intrusion in estuaries during storm events have been rarely examined. In the present study, we use a coupled atmosphere–ocean–wave–sediment transport (COAWST) modeling system to investigate the effects of WCI on salt intrusion in the highly stratified Modaomen Estuary during Typhoon Hagupit (2008). The model is validated by the measured wave, water elevation, and surface salinity data, and several diagnostic model experiments are conducted. WCI increases the storm surge by 0.8 m at the peak surge (25% of the total surge height). The wave-breaking-induced momentum flux and the Stokes drift increase the magnitude of the landward flow by 0.3 m s−1 (30% of the total landward flow). In addition, the waves increase water mixing by 2–4 times compared with that without waves. Hence, WCI significantly increases the landward advective salt transport and decreases the steady shear transport. The net effect of the WCI is a significant increase of salt import and salt intrusion during the typhoon event. However, in the aftermath of the storm, the imported salt water is rapidly flushed out by the increased river discharge, and the estuary regains its stratification within one day.


Wave–current interaction Storm Salt intrusion Pearl River 



This research is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 41576089 and 41706001), the Guangdong Provincial Key Research (grant number 2014A030311046), and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant number 2016YFC0402603). It is also supported by the Special Program for Applied Research on Super Computation of the NSFC-Guangdong Joint Fund (second phase). We thank Dr. Chao Tan, Guangdong Research Institute of Water Resource and Hydropower, for providing the observation data, and Mr. Yuren Chen at Sun Yat-sen University for his assistance in editing the figures. We also thank the anonymous reviewer for valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenping Gong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yunzhen Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heng Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhaoyun Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Marine SciencesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal EngineeringGuangzhouChina

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