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A modelling approach to diagnose the impacts of global changes on hydrology, suspended sediment and organic carbon in an Asian tropical basin : the case of the Red River (China and Vietnam)

Wei, Xi. A modelling approach to diagnose the impacts of global changes on hydrology, suspended sediment and organic carbon in an Asian tropical basin : the case of the Red River (China and Vietnam). PhD, Surfaces Interfaces Continentales Hydrologie, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2019

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Abstract

The Asian river basins are great contributors to sediments and organic carbon to the seas. However, these river basins are subject to the influence of climate variability and human activities, which alters the transport and fate of water and associated matter in rivers, and then modifies the coastal biochemical processes. The Red River is a representative Asian river basin and plays an important role in the economy and agriculture in China and Vietnam. However, lack of data sharing between countries and difficulty in in-situ observations and samplings, make the studythrough the whole basin difficult both spatially and temporally. In order to overcome these issues and better understand the water resources and matters transfer dynamics, interactive use of insitu measurements, remote sensing observations and numerical modellings are necessary. Thiswork proposed a modelling approach to simulate the transfer dynamics of water, suspended sediment (SS) and organic carbon at a daily scale in the Red River, and to understand and quantify their responses to the impacts of climate variability and dam constructions. The physicalbased SWAT model, combining the remote sensing data, was used in this study to simulate the water regime and suspended sediment. Six dams (two were operated before the study period and the other four started operation since 2008) were implemented in this model. The model was calibrated based on observed discharge (Q) and suspended sediment concentration (SSC) datafrom 2000 to 2013 at five gauge stations (the outlets of the main tributaries and of the continent basin) at a daily time step. After Q and SSC calibrated under actual conditions, a scenario ofnatural conditions (without any dams inside the basin) was modelled to disentangle and quantify the impacts of climate variability and dams on Q and sediment fluxes (SF). Dissolved and particulate organic carbon (DOC, POC) were calibrated based on observed Q, SSC and in-situ organic carbon sampling data. According to these relationships, the organic carbon concentrations and fluxes under actual and natural conditions are calculated, in order to further quantify the impacts of climate variability and dams on DOC and POC transfer. This study highlighted the strong impacts of dams on sediment fluxes (-80%) and organic carbon (POC, -85%; DOC, -13%), and the impacts of climate variability on Q (-9%). Without dams, the Red River basin would have a high specific sediment yield (779 t km-2 yr-1) compared to other Asian river basins, though its sediment export was low compared to them. The high soil erosion due to precipitation, slope and agricultural practice in the middle part of the basin is the main factor contributing to the specific sediment yield. The specific yields of DOC (1.62 t km2 yr-1) and POC (2.96 t km2 yr-1) of the RedRiver basin were more than twice those of other Asian basins. Soil organic carbon content and high soil erosion and leaching were the main influencing factors. The percentage of POC in total organic carbon (TOC) decreased from 86% to 74% until 2007 then to 47% with new dams. Damconstructions altered the TOC yield and POC/TOC ratio. Furthermore, simple rating curves between monthly mean Q and SF were established in this study for estimating SF at the outlet of the tributaries and the Red River, which enables stakeholders to estimate the monthly SF without using the SWAT model. Future studies on other nutrients and contaminants transfer and global changes can be carried on based on this modelling.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
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Research Director:
Simeoni-Sauvage, Sabine
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Deposited On:09 Apr 2020 10:35

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