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Northward drift of suspended sediments in the Yangtze estuary in spring

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The spatial distribution of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) in spring (February–April) from 2007 to 2013 in the Yangtze (Changjiang) estuary and coastal seas was analysed using remote-sensing data. The results indicated that areas of high SSC drifted northwards along the coast about 100 km away from the Yangtze estuary. SSC increased considerably in both mass and area in 2013. The first principal component analysis (PCA) pattern explained the dominant spatial distribution pattern of SSC in the study area. This highly clustered controlling pattern may have been caused by the joint effects of Yangtze diluted water (YDW), the Taiwan Warm Current (TWC), coastal currents, northeasterly winds, and the shallow coastal shelf. The SSC dispersed and extended into a wide area, and the main range of sediment concentration was located in an area the shape of a trapezium (31.9° N–33.8° N, 122° E–125.5° E, 30.7° N–32.6° N). YDW and the TWC could be the main reason for this northward drift of SSC. The long-term sinking of suspended sediment in clustered areas may have contributed considerably to the formation of the shallow coastal shelf above the 60 m isobath.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Marine Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, 201306, China 2: Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, 108-8477, Japan 3: Centre of Remote Sensing on Marine Ecology/Environment, State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 510301, China

Publication date: June 18, 2014

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