Acta Oceanologica Sinica

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 21–30 | Cite as

Modeling the circulation and sediment transport in the Beibu Gulf

  • Gaolei Cheng
  • Wenping GongEmail author
  • Yaping Wang
  • Zhen Xia


Water circulation and sediment transport in the Beibu Gulf are important for its environmental protection and resource exploitation. By employing the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), we studied the seasonal variation of circulation, sediment transport and long-term morphological evolution in the Beibu Gulf. The simulation results show that the circulation induced by tide and wind is cyclonic both in winter and summer in the gulf and that the wind-driven circulation is stronger in winter than that in summer. The sediment concentration is higher in the Qiongzhou Strait, west of the Hainan Island and the coast of Vietnam and the Leizhou Peninsula. The sediment is transported westwards in winter and eastwards in summer in the Qiongzhou Strait. The west entrance of the Qiongzhou Strait is dominated by westward transport all the year round. The sediment discharged by rivers is deposited near the river mouths. The simulated result demonstrates that the sediment transport is mainly controlled by tidal induced bottom resuspension in the Beibu Gulf. Four characteristics are summarized for the distribution patterns of erosion and deposition. (1) The erosion and deposition are insignificant in most area of the gulf. (2) Sediment deposition is more significant in the mouths of Qiongzhou Strait. (3) The erosion is observed in the seabed of Qiongzhou Strait. (4) Erosion and deposition occur alternatively in the west of Hainan Island.


Beibu Gulf circulation sediment transport Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The authors thank Li Yineng, Li Changyu and Zhao Junpeng for their help on the preparation of this article, and also thank Gao Jianhua for his constructive comment.


  1. Chen Changsheng, Beardsley R C. 1995. A numerical study of stratified tidal rectification over finite-amplitude banks: Part I. symmetric bank. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 25(9): 2090–2110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen Changlin, Li Peiliang, Shi Maochong, et al. 2009. Numerical study of the tides and residual currents in the Qiongzhou Strait. Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 27(4): 931–942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ding Yang, Chen Changsheng, Beardsley R C, et al. 2013. Observational and model studies of the circulation in the Gulf of Tonkin, South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 118(12): 6495–6510, doi: 10.1002/2013JC 009455Google Scholar
  4. Fang Guohong, Kwok Y K, Yu Kejun, et al. 1999. Numerical simulation of principal tidal constituents in the South China Sea, Gulf of Tonkin and Gulf of Thailand. Continental Shelf Research, 19(7): 845–869CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gao Shu, Collins M, McLaren P, et al. 1991. A critique of the “McLaren Method” for defining sediment transport paths; discussion and reply. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 61(1): 143–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gao Jingsong, Xue Huijie, Chai Fei, et al. 2013. Modeling the circulation in the Gulf of Tonkin, South China Sea. Ocean Dynamics, 63(8): 979–993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harris C K, Sherwood C R, Signell R P, et al. 2008. Sediment dispersal in the northwestern Adriatic Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113(C11): C11S03, doi: 10.1029/2006JC003868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hedström K S. 2012. DRAFT Technical Manual for a Coupled Sea- Ice/Ocean Circulation Model (Version 4). Alaska: US Department of the Interior Minerals Management Service AnchorageGoogle Scholar
  9. Hu Jianyu, Kawamura H, Tang D L. 2003. Tidal front around the Hainan Island, northwest of the South China Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(C11): 3342, doi: 10.1029/2003 JC001883CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huang Yichen, Li Yan, Shao Hao, et al. 2008. Seasonal variations of sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a and turbidity in Beibu gulf, MODIS imagery study. Journal of Xiamen University (Natural Science) (in Chinese), 47(6): 856–863Google Scholar
  11. Li Zhanhai, Ke Xiankun. 2000. Prelimary study on tidally-induced sediment fluxes of the Qiongzhou strait. Marine Science Bulletin (in Chinese), 19(6): 42–49Google Scholar
  12. Liu Ruiyu. 1964. A Report about the Marine Systematic Survey Conducted by China and Vietnam (in Chinese). Beijing: State Scientific and Technological CommissionGoogle Scholar
  13. Loder J W. 1980. Topographic rectification of tidal currents on the sides of Georges Bank. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 10(9): 1399–1416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ma Fei, Wang Yaping, Li Yan, et al. 2010. The application of geostatistics in grain size trend analysis: a case study of eastern Beibu Gulf. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 20(1): 77–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ma Xiaochuan, Yan Jun, Fan Fengxin. 2014. Morphology of submarine barchans and sediment transport in barchans fields off the Dongfang coast in Beibu Gulf. Geomorphology, 213: 213–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Manh D V, Yanagi T. 2000. A study on residual flow in the gulf of Tongking. Journal of Oceanography, 56(1): 59–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mellor G L, Yamada T. 1982. Development of a turbulence closure model for geophysical fluid problems. Reviews of Geophysics, 20(4): 851–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Minh N N, Patrick M, Florent L, et al. 2014. Tidal characteristics of the gulf of Tonkin. Continental Shelf Research, 91: 37–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Neill S P. 2008. The role of Coriolis in sandbank formation due to a headland/island system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 79(3): 419–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shchepetkin A F, McWilliams J C. 2005. The regional oceanic modeling system (ROMS): a split-explicit, free- surface, topographyfollowing- coordinate oceanic model. Ocean Modelling, 9(4): 347–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Shi Maochong, Chen Changsheng, Xu Qichun, et al. 2002. The role of Qiongzhou strait in the seasonal variation of the south China sea circulation. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 32(1): 103–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Van Maren D S. 2007. Water and sediment dynamics in the Red River mouth and adjacent coastal zone. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 29(4): 508–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wang Ying. 2012. Regional Oceanography of China Seas: Marine Geomorphology (in Chinese). Beijing: China Ocean PressGoogle Scholar
  24. Warner J C, Sherwood C R, Signell R P, et al. 2008. Development of a three-dimensional, regional, coupled wave, current, and sediment- transport model. Computers & Geosciences, 34(10): 1284–1306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wu Dexing, Wang Yue, Lin Xiaopei, et al. 2008. On the mechanism of the cyclonic circulation in the Gulf of Tonkin in the summer. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113(C9): C09029, doi: 10.1029/2007JC004208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Xia Huayong, Li Shuhua, Shi Maochong. 2001. Three-D numerical simulation of wind-driven current and density current in the Beibu Gulf. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 20(4): 455–472Google Scholar
  27. Yang Zhihong, Jia Jianjun, Wang Xinkai, et al. 2013. Characteristics and variations of water and sediment fluxes into the sea of the top three rivers of Hainan in recent 50 years. Marine Science Bulletin (in Chinese), 32(1): 92–99Google Scholar
  28. Yang Zaoqing, Wang Taiping. 2013. Tidal residual eddies and their effect on water exchange in Puget Sound. Ocean Dynamics, 63(8): 995–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yu Qian, Wang Yunwei, Gao Shu, et al. 2012. Modeling the formation of a sand bar within a large funnel-shaped, tide-dominated estuary: Qiantangjiang Estuary, China. Marine Geology, 299–302: 63–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zhang Guorong, Ma Teng, Pan Weiran, et al. 2009. The characteristics of low-frequency flow in the west mouth of Qiongzhou Strait and its response to the seasonal wind field. In: The Essay Collection of the Researches on the Ocean Science in the Gulf of Tonkin-PT II (in Chinese). Beijing: China Ocean Press, 64–76Google Scholar
  31. Zhao Chang, Lv Xingang, Qiao Fangli. 2010. Numerical study of the tidal waves in the Gulf of Tonkin. Haiyang Xuebao (in Chinese), 32(4): 1–11Google Scholar
  32. Zu Tingting. 2005. Analysis of the current and its mechanism in the Gulf of Beibu (in Chinese) [dissertation]. Qingdao: Ocean University of ChinaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Oceanography and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaolei Cheng
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wenping Gong
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Yaping Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhen Xia
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea StudiesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Center for Coastal Ocean Science & Technology Research, School of Marine SciencesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal EngineeringGuangzhouChina
  5. 5.Guangzhou Marine Geological SurveyGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations