Influence of Seasonal River Discharge on Tidal Propagation in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta, Bangladesh

M. W.E. Elahi, I. Jalón-Rojas, X. H. Wang, E. A. Ritchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Significant research efforts have been devoted to understanding river-tide interactions in estuaries. However, studies on the impact of monsoon-driven fluctuations of river discharge are limited. Here, the role of varying river discharge on the tidal propagation and tidal limit along the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta (GBMD), a macrotidal estuary subject to seasonal and annual river discharge variations, is investigated. The Delft3D hydrodynamic model is validated and applied to an average flood year condition and nine idealized scenarios covering the typical hydrological conditions. Results reveal that the upper limit of the tidal propagation shifts 75 km upstream during the dry season. The residual water level slope and tidal damping rate increase with river discharge beyond 100 km from the estuary mouth. The balance between the generation and dissipation of quarterdiurnal tides shifts spatially as a result of changes in channel convergence and friction and temporally as a function of river discharge, which controls the total friction in the upper tidal river. The balance between tidal dissipation and generation depends on the residual velocity generated by river discharge and the velocity of the principal tides. The maximal generation of quarterdiurnal tides in the upper GBMD depends on the friction generated from the river-tide interaction. Critical river discharge thresholds produce an optimal condition of dissipation of semidiurnal tides and generation of quarterdiurnal tides through friction at the upper and middle estuary. River discharge above the critical river discharge amount more rapidly dissipates both semidiurnal and quarterdiurnal tides than generates quarterdiurnal tides from nonlinear interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JC016417
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • harmonic analysis
  • numerical model
  • quarterdiurnal tide generations
  • river-tide interaction
  • tide propagation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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