Seasonal transportation and deposition of the suspended sediments in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea and the related mechanisms

Research paper by Lulu Qiao, Yi Zhong, Nan Wang, Ke Zhao, Lingling Huang, Zhen Wang

Indexed on: 29 Mar '16Published on: 29 Mar '16Published in: Ocean Dynamics


The Yellow River is well known for high concentration of suspended particulate matter (SPM), which is one of the most important SPM sources in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, China. The mechanisms of long-distance transport and deposition of the Yellow River sediment discharges are hot topics. Based on field observations in four different seasons of 2010–2011 and 15 numerical experiments, this work studied the seasonal sediment transportation and deposition in the Bohai and Yellow Seas. Results show that the horizontal distribution of suspended sediment concentration in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea is neither closely related to the Yellow River discharge in flood and dry seasons nor to the temperature and salinity distributions in winter and summer because most of the Yellow River-discharged sediments deposited near the river mouth. However, the winter northerly wind events, especially the winter storm events with high waves, are the major factors inducing the long-distance transport of the sediments from the Bohai Sea to the Yellow Sea. The net SPMs are transported to the Yellow Sea from the Bohai Sea in both winter and summer. The net SPM flux at the Bohai Strait is 14.0 Mt/year by the combined effects of tides, wind, and waves. The SPM is transported to the Shandong Peninsula in the Yellow Sea for the generation of the mud wedge off the peninsula. The northern part of the mud wedge is related to the southerly wind in summer, and the southeastern part resulted from the winter northerly wind, especially the strong wind.