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Volume 14, issue 3 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 14, 437-451, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-14-437-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Jun 2018

Research article | 11 Jun 2018

Numerical study of hydrodynamic and salinity transport processes in the Pink Beach wetlands of the Liao River estuary, China

Huiting Qiao1, Mingliang Zhang1, Hengzhi Jiang2, Tianping Xu1, and Hongxing Zhang1 Huiting Qiao et al.
  • 1School of Ocean Science and Environment, Dalian Ocean University, Dalian, Liaoning, 116023, China
  • 2Key Laboratory for Ecological Environment in Coastal Areas, National Marine Environment Monitoring Center, Dalian, Liaoning, 116023, China

Abstract. Interaction studies of vegetation within flow environments are essential for the determination of bank protection, morphological characteristics and ecological conditions for wetlands. This paper uses the MIKE 21 hydrodynamic and salinity model to simulate the hydrodynamic characteristics and salinity transport processes in the Pink Beach wetlands of the Liao River estuary. The effect of wetland plants on tidal flow in wetland areas is represented by a varying Manning coefficient in the bottom friction term. Acquisition of the vegetation distribution is based on Landsat TM satellites by remote sensing techniques. Detailed comparisons between field observation and simulated results of water depth, salinity and tidal currents are presented in the vegetated domain of the Pink Beach wetlands. Satisfactory results were obtained from simulations of both flow characteristics and salinity concentration, with or without vegetation. A numerical experiment was conducted based on variations in vegetation density, and compared with the tidal currents in non-vegetated areas; the computed current speed decreased remarkably with an increase in vegetation density. The impact of vegetation on water depth and salinity was simulated, and the findings revealed that wetland vegetation has an insignificant effect on the water depth and salinity in this wetland domain. Several stations (from upstream to downstream) in the Pink Beach wetlands were selected to estimate the longitudinal variation of salinity under different river runoff conditions; the results showed that salinity concentration decreases with an increase in river runoff. This study can consequently help increase the understanding of favourable salinity conditions for particular vegetation growth in the Pink Beach wetlands of the Liao River estuary. The results also provide crucial guidance for related interaction studies of vegetation, flow and salinity in other wetland systems.

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Suaeda heteroptera is a dominant species in the wetlands of the Liao River estuary and a typical saline–alkaline indicator plant, which is distributed on coastal tidal flats, forming a rare natural pink beach landscape. The MIKE 21 model is used to simulate the hydrodynamic characteristics and salinity transport processes in this region. The results of this study are important for furthering the understanding of suitable circumstances for vegetation growth in the Pink Beach wetlands.
Suaeda heteroptera is a dominant species in the wetlands of the Liao River estuary and a typical...
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