Evolution of the hydrodynamics of the Tagus estuary (Portugal) in the 21st century

Abstract : The ongoing rise in sea level affects tidal propagation and circulation in estuaries, and these changes can have far reaching consequences on the sediment dynamics, water quality and extreme water levels. This study aims at anticipating the evolution of the tidal dynamics in the Tagus (Portugal) in the 21st century, in particular due to sea level rise (SLR). The existence of a resonance mode of about 8 hours in this estuary, that selectively amplifies both semi-diurnal and quarter-diurnal tidal constituents, makes the response of the Tagus estuary to SLR unique. The study was conducted with a shallow water model, forced by present and future conditions, namely higher mean sea levels and an extrapolated bathymetry based on present sedimentation rates. Model results showed that SLR will significantly affect tidal asymmetry, in particular because the intertidal area can decrease by up to 40% by the end of the 21st century. As a result, the strong ebb-dominance of this estuary will decrease significantly. This evolution of tidal asymmetry will be counteracted by the effect of sedimentation of the saltmarsh areas. Also, SLR will enhance the resonance in the Tagus estuary. As a consequence, extreme water levels will be higher than the sum of present levels with the SLR.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 12:44:04 PM
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Guerreiro Martha, André Bustorff Fortunato, Paula Freire, Rilo Ana, Rui Taborda, et al.. Evolution of the hydrodynamics of the Tagus estuary (Portugal) in the 21st century . Journal of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, APRH, 2015, ⟨10.5894/rgci515⟩. ⟨hal-01247612⟩



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