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01.09.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 18/2016

Environmental Earth Sciences 18/2016

Spatial and temporal variations of channel lateral migration rates in the Inner Mongolian reach of the upper Yellow River

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 18/2016
Autoren:
Suiji Wang, Ling Li, Lishan Ran, Yunxia Yan

Abstract

Channel variations of the Inner Mongolian reach in the upper Yellow River are very complicated because of diversity of channel patterns, intense changes in water and sediment, and enhanced human activities in the last decades. It is important to examine the channel migration rates in this river reach. Based on channel planform changes at 236 digital channel cross-sections, the present study estimated the channel migration rates in terms of mid-channel line shift at the digital channel cross-sections during the periods 1975–1990, 1990–2000, 2000–2006, 2006–2010, and 2010–2011. The results show that the average channel migration rate for the whole river reach is 5.0, 7.9, −5.9, 8.6, and −1.0 m−1 in the five different periods, respectively. In both directions to the right and to the left, the highest channel migration rate was always observed in the meandering channels, while the lowest channel migration rate was in the whole Inner Mongolian reach except the Sanhuhekou–Zhaojunfen (S–Z) sub-reach. The temporal variation of channel migration rate was mainly controlled by changing sediment concentration in river flow, while the spatial variation along the straight, braided, and meandering channel reaches was largely affected by material differences of channel banks as reflected by different channel patterns. With the highest average lateral migration rate to the left bank, the meandering channel reach is extremely vulnerable to lateral migration and needs to be protected with engineering practices, because a large population and wide farmland are located on its left floodplain.

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