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Modeling transport and deposition of the Mekong River sediment

April 2, 2012

A Coupled Wave–Ocean–SedimentTransport Model was used to hindcast coastal circulation and fine sedimenttransport on the Mekong shelf in southeastern Asian in 2005. Comparisons with limited observations showed that the model simulation captured the regional patterns and temporal variability of surface wave, sea level, and suspended sediment concentration reasonably well. Significant seasonality in sedimenttransport was revealed. In summer, a large amount of fluvial sediments was delivered and deposited near the MekongRiver mouth. In the following winter, strong ocean mixing, and coastal current lead to resuspension and southwestward dispersal of a small fraction of previously deposited sediments. Model sensitivity experiments (with reduced physics) were performed to investigate the impact of tides, waves, and remotely forced ambient currents on the transport and dispersal of the fluvial sediment. Strong wave mixing and downwelling-favorable coastal current associated with the more energetic northeast monsoon in the winter season are the main factors controlling the southwestward along-shelf transport.