Estimating Bankfull Discharge and Depth in Ungauged Estuaries

Gisen, J. I. A. and Savenije, H. H. G. (2015) Estimating Bankfull Discharge and Depth in Ungauged Estuaries. Water Resources Research, 51 (4). pp. 2298-2316. ISSN 1944-7973. (Published)

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River discharge is important for the morphology and hydrodynamics of estuaries as it influences the salt intrusion process, tidal dynamics, freshwater supply (water resources management), and the occurrence of floods. Here we try to derive river regime characteristics from the seaward end: the estuary. It is found that there are empirical relationships that link the geometry of an estuary to its river regime, which can be used to estimate river discharge characteristics with the least of data available. The aims of this study are: (1) to derive empirical relations between geometrical characteristics of estuaries and the bankfull discharge; (2) to explore a physical explanation for this relation; and (3) to estimate the bankfull discharge in estuaries. The physical connection between an estuary and its river regime is found by combining estuary shape analysis, tidal dynamic analysis, and Lacey’s hydraulic geometry theory. The relationships found between the estuary depth, width, and bankfull river discharge have been tested in 23 estuaries around the world (including seven recently surveyed estuaries). From the analysis, it shows that the depth of an estuary is a function of the bankfull flood discharge to the power of 1/3, which is in agreement with Lacey’s formula. This finding not only provides a method to estimate estuary depth, it also allows estimating flood discharge characteristics from readily available estuary shape indicators.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
Faculty/Division: Faculty of Civil Engineering & Earth Resources
Depositing User: Dr. Jacqueline Isabella Anak Gisen
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2015 04:08
Last Modified: 21 May 2018 01:49
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