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Three Gorges Dam alters the footprint of particulate heavy metals in the Yangtze Estuary.

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Wang, Hua 
Yuan, Weihao 
Zeng, Yichuan 
Liang, Dongfang 
Zhang, Xinyue 


Two scenarios were selected to simulate the situation before the closure of the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) in 1996 (Scenario 1) and after the completion of the Three Gorges Project in 2010 (Scenario 2). A modified polar co-ordinated segmented quantification method was proposed to quantify the heavy metal footprint excursion in Scenarios 1 and 2 and further evaluate their influence on the six sensitive targets in the Yangtze Estuary. Scenario 3 was utilised to analyse the negative effects of the footprint range on the spatio-temporal overlap of the Chinese sturgeon juveniles arriving in the estuarine reserve, set in the TGD-altered biological rhythm. Each scenario comprises four simulation sites from March to September, including three major urban sewage outlets, named Bailonggang (BLG), Zhuyuan (ZY), Shidongkou (SDK), and the upstream pollution source, represented by Xuliujing (XLJ). The results showed that the increased discharge in the dry season moved the post-TGD footprint further away from Chongming Island. Additionally, the outward side footprint was formed during the flood season, when the average discharge was lower than that during the pre-TGD period, being 'pushed' to the northwest by the monsoon and Taiwan warm current, resulting in a narrowing of the overall extent. The TGD positively impacted the XLJ and BLG simulation sites, given their shrinking footprint range and the decreasing trajectories of intruding sensitive targets in Scenario 2, in contrast to SDK and ZY.



Cu footprint, Excursion, Mega hydropower, Quantification method, Yangtze Estuary, China, Environmental Monitoring, Estuaries, Metals, Heavy, Rivers, Seasons

Journal Title

Sci Total Environ

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Volume Title



Elsevier BV