Three Gorges Dam shrinking Yangtze delta

May 21, 2007

Chinese scientists have determined how China's Three Gorges Dam -- the world's largest dam -- affects downstream sediment delivery in the Yangtze River.

Researchers from East China Normal University found river damming can damage downstream environments by retaining sediments and nutrients.

Shi-Lun Yang and colleagues at the university's State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research calculated supplies of water and sediment from ungauged areas and combined them with data sets from gauging stations.

They discovered the Three Gorges Dam, which has regulated the waters of the Yangtze River since 2003, retains two-thirds of the upstream sediment each year and, in response to that retention, significant erosion occurs in the riverbed downstream of the dam.

Since the erosion doesn't offset the sediment lost in the reservoir, and because sediment flux to the Yangtze River mouth has decreased by 31 percent per year, the Yangtze delta is shrinking.

The researchers said continued sediment retention at those rates, combined with more dams planned for the watershed, will severely affect the people and various ecosystems in the Yangtze delta.

The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Global warming 'pause' since 1998 reflects natural fluctuation, study concludes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A drone that finds survivors through their phones

27 minutes ago

A drone makes large circles in the sky. With two powerful antennas, it sniffs the data packets emitted by mobile phones. On the ground, an interface developed specifically for this project makes it possible ...

India fines ex-IT firm chief over 'India's Enron'

1 hour ago

India's equity market regulator has slapped multi-million dollar fines on the former chief of outsourcing giant Satyam and his aides for manipulating the firm's shares in a scandal dubbed "India's Enron".

Do women talk more than men? It depends

2 hours ago

We've all heard the stereotype: Women like to talk. We bounce ideas off each other about everything from career moves to dinner plans. We hash out big decisions through our conversations with one another ...

Recommended for you

Tropical Storm Wali no more, but remnants soaked Hawaii

17 hours ago

On July 19, NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center noted that Wali didn't even make it to the Big Island, but moisture associated with the storm did. NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of the remnant ...

NASA image: Fires in Indonesia, July 2014

17 hours ago

Terra and Aqua satellites detected 154 hotspots in areas across Riau province on Sunday, July 20, indicating forest and land fires had increased again following a decline in rainfall. The number of detected ...

User comments : 0