Original Articles

Research Progress in River Transport of Sediments and Associated Particulate Nutrients

  • 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Online published: 2009-07-25


Sediment (also called total suspended solid) river loads and associated particulate nutrients (POC, PN and PP, etc.) greatly influence the ecology and biogeochemistry of estuary and coastal marine environment, leading to water eutrophication. River transport of particulate nutrients is important from regional and global biogeochemical perspective, as POC, PN and PP constitute major portions of C, N and P transported from land to sea. In this paper, the authors summarize progress in river transport of sediments and particulate nutrients in both global and regional scales. In methodology, the study on estimates of particulate nutrients is based on the river sediment load. During the 1950s-1990s, most researches were focused on the impacts of natural processes on the transport of sediments in rivers, and the global river sediment load to the sea was estimated to vary between 8.8 and 64 Pg yr-1. But at present, more attention is paid to the impacts of human activities, and the estimates of global river sediment load to the sea ranged from 11 to 27 Pg yr-1. For the models of river sediment and particulate nutrients reported, most of them were built on global scale. The global river export of POC, PN and PP varied between 170-210 Tg yr-1, 21-30 Tg yr-1 and 9-20 Tg yr-1, respectively. Further calibration and test would be required for these global models to be applied in a specific basin.

Cite this article

LI Xinyan1,2, WANG Fang1,YANG Libiao1,YAN Weijin1 . Research Progress in River Transport of Sediments and Associated Particulate Nutrients[J]. PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY, 2009 , 28(4) : 558 -566 . DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2009.04.011


[1]  Meybeck M. Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus transport by world rivers. American Journal of Science,1982,282, 401-450.

[2]  晏维金. 人类活动影响下营养盐向河口/近海的输出和模型研究. 地理研究,2006,25(5):825-835.

[3]  Dumont E, Harrison J A, Kroeze C, et al. Global distribution and sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen export to the coastal zone: Results from a spatially explicit, global model. Global Biogeochemical Cycles,2005,19,doi:10.1029/2005GB002488.

[4]   Green P A, Vorosmarty C J, Meybeck M, et al. Pre-industrial and contemporary fluxes of nitrogen through rivers: A global assessment based on topology. Biogeochemistry,2004,68:71-105.

[5]   孟伟,于涛,郑丙辉, 等. 黄河流域氮磷营养盐动态特征及主要影响因素. 环境科学学报,2007,12:2046-2051.

[6]   沈志良. 长江干流营养盐通量的初步研究. 海洋与湖沼,1997,28(5):522-528.

[7]   Beusen A H W, Dekkers A L M, Bouwman A F, et al. Estimation of global river transport of sediments and associated particulate C, N, and P. Global Biogeochem. Cycles,2005,19,GB4S05, doi:10.1029/2005GB002453.

[8]   Ludwig W, Probst J L, Kempe S. Predicting the oceanic input of organic carbon by continental erosion. Global Biogeochem. Cycles,1996,10(1):23-42.

[9]   Ittekkot V, Zhan S. Pattern of particulate nitrogen transport in world rivers. Global Biogeochem. Cycles,1989,3:383-391.

[10] Yan W J, Zhang S. The composition and bioavailability of phosphorus transport through the Changjiang River during the 1998 flood. Biogeochemistry,2003,65:151-178.

[11] Duan S W, Liang T, Zhang S, et al. Seasonal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus transport in the lower Changjiang River before the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,2008,79:239-250.

[12] Foster I D L, Chapman A S, Hodgkinson R M, et al. Changing suspended sediment and particulate phosphorus loads and pathways in underdrained lowland agricultural catchments: Herefordshire and Worcestershire,UK. Hydrobiologia, 2003,494:119-126.

[13] Guo L D, Zhang J Z, Gueguen C. Speciation and fluxes of nutrients (N,P,Si) from the upper Yukon River. Global Biogeochem. Cycles,2004,18, GB1038. doi:10.1029/2003GB002152.

[14] 沈志良. 长江磷和硅的输送通量.地理学报,2006,61(7):741-751.

[15] 高全洲,陶贞,姚冠荣, 等. 增江颗粒有机碳同位素的AMS研究初报. 第四纪研究,2004,24(4):474-475.

[16] Mckee L, Eyre B, Hossain S. Intra- and interannual export of nitrogen and phosphorus in the subtropical Richmond River catchment, Australia. Hydrological Processes,2000,14:1789-1809.

[17] Russell  M A, Walling D E, Webb B W, et al. The composition of nutrient fluxes from contrasting UK river basins. Hydrological Processes,1998,12:1461-1482.

[18] Meybeck M. C,N,P and S in rivers: From sources to global inputs//Wollast R, Mackenzie F T, Chou L. Interactions of C, N, P and S. Biogeochemical Cycles and Global Change.New York:Springer-Verlag, 1993:163-193.

[19] Turner R, Rablais N. Coastal eutrophication near the Mississippi river delta. Nature,1994,368:619.

[20] Van Bennedom A, Wetsteijn F J. The winter distribution of nutrients in the Southern Bight of the North Sea (1961-1978) and in the estuaries of the Scheldt and the Rhine/Muese. Neth. J. Sea Res.,1990,25:750-87.

[21] Zhang J, et al. Chemical trend of national rivers in China:Yellow and Yangtze. AMBIO,1994,24(5):274-278.

[22] Li M T, Xu K Q, Watanabe M, et al. Long-term variations in dissolved silicate,nitrogen, and phosphorus flux from the Yangtze River into the East China Sea and impacts on estuarine ecosystem. Estuarine,Coastal and Shelf Science,2007,71:3-12.

[23] Duan S W, Xu F, Wang L J. Long-term changes in nutrient concentrations of the Changjiang River and principal tributaries. Biogeochemistry,2007,85:215-234, doi10.1007/s10533-007-9139-2.

[24] Humborg C, et al. Silicon retention in river basins: Far-reaching effects on biogeochemistry and aquatic food webs in coastal marine environments. Ambio,2000,29(1): 45-50.

[25] Turner R E, Qureshi N, et al. Fluctuating silicate: nitrate ratios and coastal plankton food webs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA. 1998, 95:13048-13051.

[26] Gruber N, Galloway J N. An earth-system perspective of the global nitrogen cycle. Nature, 2008, 451(17):293-296.

[27] Syvitski, J P M, Peckham S D, Rachael H, et al. Predicting the terrestrial flux of sediment to the global ocean: A planetary perspective. Sedimentary Geology, 2003, 162:5-24.

[28] Meybeck M. Total mineral dissolved transport by major world rivers. Hydrological Sciences Bulletin, 1976, 20:265-284.

[29] Hwang B G, Jun K S, Lee Y D, et al. Importance of DOC in sediment for contaminant transport modeling. Wat. Sci. Tech., 1998, 38 (11):193-199.

[30] Syvitski J P M, Vorosmarty C J, Kettner A J, et al. Impact of humans on the flux of terrestrial sediment to the global coastal ocean. Science, 2005, 308:376-380.

[31] Milliman J D, Meade R H. Worldwide delivery of river sediment to the oceans. Journal of Geology, 1983, 91:1-21.

[32] Milliman J D. Delivery and fate of fluvial water and sediment to the sea: A marine geologist’s view of European rivers. Scientia Marina, 2001, 65(suppl.2):121-132.

[33] Walling D E, Fang D. Recent trends in the suspended sediment loads of the world’s rivers. Global and Planetary Change, 2003, 39:111-126.

[34] Bobrovitskaya N N, Kokorev A V, Nataly A. Global and Planetary Change, 2003, 39:127-146.

[35] Syvitski J P M, Saito Y. Morphodynamics of deltas under the influence of humans. Global and Planetary Change,2007, 57:261-282.

[36] 许炯心. 流域降水和人类活动对黄河入海泥沙通量的影响. 海洋学报,2003, 25(5):125-135.

[37] Langbein W B, Schumm S A. Yield of sediment in relation to mean annual precipitation. American Geophysical Union Transactions.1958,39:1076-1084.

[38] Douglas I Man, vegetation and the sediment yield of rivers. Nature, 1967, 215:925-928.

[39] Wilson L. Variations in mean annual sediment yield as a function of mean annual precipitation. American Journal of Science, 1973, 273:335-349.

[40] Ohmori H. Erosion rates and their relation to vegetation from the viewpoint of world-wide distribution. University of Tokyo, Department of Geography Bulletin, 1983, 15:77-91.

[41] Summerfield M A. Rates of uplift and denudation. In:Summerfield M A, Global Geomorphology. Singapore:Longman Scientific Publications, 1991, 371-402.

[42] Fournier F. Climate et erosion. Paris:Presses Universitaires de France, 1960, 201.

[43] Pinet P, Souria M. Continental erosion and large scale relief. Tectonics, 1988, 7:563-582.

[44] Ahnert F. Functional relationships between denudation, relief and uplift in large mid-latitude drainage basins. American Journal of Science, 1970, 268:243-263.

[45] Jansen J M L, Painter R B. Predicting sediment yield from climate and topography. Journal of Hydrology, 1974, 21:371-380.

[46] Probst J L, Amiotte S P. Fluvial suspended sediment transport and mechanical erosion in the Maghreb (North Africa). Hydrological Science Journal, 1992, 37:621-637.

[47] Ludwig W, Probst J L. River sediment discharge to the oceans: Present-day controls and global budgets. American Journal of Science, 1998, 398:265-295.

[48] Vorosmarty C J,Meybeck M,Fekete B, et al. Anthropogenic sediment retention: Major global impact from registered river impoundments. Global and Planetary Change, 2003, 39:169-190.

[49] Mossa J. Sediment dynamics in the lowermost Mississippi River. Eng. Geol., 1996,45:457-479.

[50] Wang H J, et al. Stepwise decreases of the Huanghe (Yellow River) sediment load(1950-2005): Impacts of climate change and human activities. Global and Planetary Change, 2007, 57:331-354.

[51] Wischmeier W H, Smith D D. Predicting rainfall erosion losses: A guide to conservation planning. USDA, Agricultural Handbook No.537. Washington: Government Printing Office, DC, 1978.

[52] Robinson A R. Sediment yield as a function of upstream erosion. In: Perterson A R, et al. (eds). Universal Soil Loss Equation: Past, present and future. Wisconsin: Soil Science Society of American, 1979.

[53] Lewis W M, Melack J M, McDowell W H, et al. Nitrogen yields from undisturbed watersheds in the Americas. Biogeochemistry, 1999, 46:149-162.

[54] Goolsby D A, et al. Nitrogen flux and sources in the Mississippi River Basin. The Science of the Total Environment, 2000, 248:75-86.

[55] Conley D J. Biogeochemical nutrient cycles and nutrient management strategies. Hydrobiologia, 2000, 410:87-96.

[56] Chang S C, Jackson M L. Fraction of soil phosphorus, Soil Science,1957, 84:133-144.

[57] 高全洲,沈承德. 河流碳通量与陆地侵蚀研究. 地球科学进展, 1998, 13(4):369-375.

[58] Conley D J. Terrestrial ecosystems and the global biogeochemical silica cycle. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 2002, 16, GB1121, doi:10.1029/2002GB001894.

[59] Wu Y, et al. Sources and distribution of carbon within the Yangtze River system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 2007, 71:13-25.

[60] Smith S V, Chaers R M, Hollibaugh J T. Dissolved and particulate nutrient transport through a coastal watershed-estuary system. Journal of Hydrology, 1996, 176:181-203.

[61] Bianchi T S, Wysocki L A, Stewart M, et al. Temporal variability in  terrestrially-derived  sources  of  particulate  organic carbon in the lower Mississippi River and its upper tributaries. Giochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2007, 71:4425-4437.

[62] Lobbes J M, Fitznar H P, Kattner G. Biogeochemical characteristics of dissolved and particulate organic matter in Russian rivers entering the Arctic Ocean. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 2000, 64(17):2973-2983.

[63] Liu S M, Zhang J, Chen H T, et al. Nutrients in the Changjiang and its tributaries. Biogeochemistry, 2003, 62:1-18.

[64] Meybeck M, Ragu A. River discharges to oceans: An assessment of suspended solids, major ions and nutrients, report. Nairobi: U.N. Environ. Programme (UNEP), 1995,  245.