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Water 2014, 6(2), 324-344; doi:10.3390/w6020324

Assessing the Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Salinity Intrusion and Transport Time Scales in a Tidal Estuary, Taiwan

1
Department of Civil and Disaster Prevention Engineering, National United University, Miaoli 36003, Taiwan
2
Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute, National Applied Research Laboratories, Taipei 10093, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 October 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 22 January 2014 / Published: 28 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Resources in a Variable and Changing Climate)
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Abstract

Global climate change has resulted in a gradual sea level rise. Sea level rise can cause saline water to migrate upstream in estuaries and rivers, thereby threatening freshwater habitat and drinking-water supplies. In the present study, a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was established to simulate salinity distributions and transport time scales in the Wu River estuary of central Taiwan. The model was calibrated and verified using tidal amplitudes and phases, time-series water surface elevation and salinity distributions in 2011. The results show that the model simulation and measured data are in good agreement. The validated model was then applied to calculate the salinity distribution, flushing time and residence time in response to a sea level rise of 38.27 cm. We found that the flushing time for high flow under the present condition was lower compared to the sea level rise scenario and that the flushing time for low flow under the present condition was higher compared to the sea level rise scenario. The residence time for the present condition and the sea level rise scenario was between 10.51 and 34.23 h and between 17.11 and 38.92 h, respectively. The simulated results reveal that the residence time of the Wu River estuary will increase when the sea level rises. The distance of salinity intrusion in the Wu River estuary will increase and move further upstream when the sea level rises, resulting in the limited availability of water of suitable quality for municipal and industrial uses. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea level rise; climate change; salinity intrusion; flushing time; residence time; model simulation; hydrodynamics; Wu River estuary sea level rise; climate change; salinity intrusion; flushing time; residence time; model simulation; hydrodynamics; Wu River estuary
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Liu, W.-C.; Liu, H.-M. Assessing the Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Salinity Intrusion and Transport Time Scales in a Tidal Estuary, Taiwan. Water 2014, 6, 324-344.

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