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Johan Winterwerp, Zheng Wang, Alexander van Braeckel, Gijsbert van Holland and Frank Koesters (2013)

Man-induced regime shifts in small estuaries-II: a comparison of rivers

Ocean Dynamics, 63(11-12):1293-1306.

This is Part II of two papers on man-induced regime shifts in small, narrow, and converging estuaries, with focus on the interaction between effective hydraulic drag, fine sediment import, and tidal amplification, induced by river engineering works, e.g., narrowing and deepening. Paper I describes a simple linear analytical model for the tidal movement in narrow, converging estuaries and a conceptual model on the response of tidal rivers to river engineering works. It is argued that such engineering works may set in motion a snowball effect bringing the river into an alternative steady state. Part II analyses the historic development in tidal range in four rivers, e.g., the Elbe, Ems, Loire, and Scheldt, all in northwest Europe; data are available for many decades, up to a century. We use the analytical model derived in Part I, showing that the effective hydraulic drag in the Ems and Loire has decreased considerably over time, as anticipated in Part I. We did not find evidence that the Upper Sea Scheldt is close to its tipping point towards hyperturbid conditions, but risks have been identified. In the Elbe, tidal reflections against the profound step in bed level around Hamburg seem to have affected the tidal evolution in the last decades. It is emphasized that the conceptual picture sketched in these papers is still hypothetical and needs to be validated, for instance through hind-cast modeling of the evolution of these rivers. This will not be an easy task, as historical data for a proper calibration of the models required are scarce.

Elbe, Regime shift, Dispersion equation, Scheldt, Hydraulic drag, asymmetry, Ems, Tidal amplification, Loire
WOS:000327859700011
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