The fate of Guadalquivir River discharges in the coastal strip of the Gulf of Cadiz. A study based on the linking of watershed catchment and hydrodynamic models.
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DepartmentFísica Aplicada; Historia, Geografía y Filosofía
SourceScience of the Total Environment 795 (2021) 148740
A catchmentmodel for river basins and a hydrodynamicmodelwere combined in order to simulate the spreading of the turbidity plume produced by sediment discharges from the Guadalquivir River basin within the Gulf of Cádiz under different meteorological conditions. The current fields provided by the hydrodynamic model and a transport-diffusion scheme based on tracking virtual particles tracking released at the river mouth have enabled us to simulate turbidity plumes that show great similarity with the plumes observed in satellite images. The most relevant results of the study show that in the absence of winds, the plume tends to spread very slowly, gradually progressing northwards; this is because of the symmetry between the filling and draining flows at the mouth of the Guadalquivir and low intensity of the tidal currents beyond the mouth. In addition, the transport of the plume towards the Strait of Gibraltar requires wind conditions with a northerly, north-westerly or westerly component. Westwards transport, however, requires winds with an easterly, southerly, or south-easterly component. The periods of heaviest rainfall in the Guadalquivir River basin coincide with winds mainly from the west; therefore, the times ofmaximum discharge at the mouth of the river occurwhen there are wind conditions that favour the transport of the matter suspended in the plume, southwards along the coast, towards the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea. Linking the watershed catchment and hydrodynamic models has proved its suitability to predict the evolution and reaching of the sediment plumes fromthe Guadalquivir River discharges and the experience encourages the use of that methodology to be applied in a future prediction systemfor the creation and evolution of those sediment plumes.