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Tidal impact on the division of river discharge over distributary channels in the Mahakam Delta
Sassi, M.G.; Hoitink, A.J.F.; de Brye, B.; Vermeulen, B.; Deleersnijder, E. (2011). Tidal impact on the division of river discharge over distributary channels in the Mahakam Delta. Ocean Dynamics 61(12): 2211-2228.
In: Ocean Dynamics. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 1616-7341, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 258383 [ OMA ]

    Marine; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Subtidal dynamics; Finite elements; River-tide interaction; Hydrodynamic model; Deltas; Mahakam; River discharge; Differential water level setup

Authors  Top 
  • Sassi, M.G.
  • Hoitink, A.J.F.
  • de Brye, B., more
  • Vermeulen, B.
  • Deleersnijder, E., more

    Bifurcations in tidally influenced deltas distribute river discharge over downstream channels, asserting a strong control over terrestrial runoff to the coastal ocean. Whereas the mechanics of river bifurcations is well-understood, junctions in tidal channels have received comparatively little attention in the literature. This paper aims to quantify the tidal impact on subtidal discharge distribution at the bifurcations in the Mahakam Delta, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Mahakam Delta is a regular fan-shaped delta, composed of a quasi-symmetric network of rectilinear distributaries and sinuous tidal channels. A depth-averaged version of the unstructured-mesh, finite-element model second-generation Louvain-la-Neuve Ice-ocean Model has been used to simulate the hydrodynamics driven by river discharge and tides in the delta channel network. The model was forced with tides at open sea boundaries and with measured and modeled river discharge at upstream locations. Calibration was performed with water level time series and flow measurements, both spanning a simulation period. Validation was performed by comparing the model results with discharge measurements at the two principal bifurcations in the delta. Results indicate that within 10 to 15 km from the delta apex, the tides alter the river discharge division by about 10% in all bifurcations. The tidal impact increases seaward, with a maximum value of the order of 30%. In general, the effect of tides is to hamper the discharge division that would occur in the case without tides.

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