High-Frequency Monitoring of Suspended Sediment Variations for Water Quality Evaluation at Deep Bay, Pearl River Estuary, China: Influence Factors and Implications for Sampling Strategy
Suspended sediment (SS) is an important water quality indicator of coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Field measurement and satellite remote sensing are the most common approaches for water quality monitoring. However, the efficiency and precision of both methods are typically affected by their sampling strategy (time and interval), especially in highly dynamic coastal and estuarine waters, because only limited measurements are available to analyze the short-term variations or the long-term
... s of SS. Dramatic variations of SS were observed, with standard deviation coefficients of 48.9% and 54.1%, at two fixed stations in Deep Bay, China. Therefore, it is crucial to resolve the temporal variations of SS and its main influencing factors, and thus to develop an improved sampling strategy for estuarine ecosystems. Based on two years of continuous high-frequency measurements of SS and concurrent tidal and meteorological data, we demonstrated that the tide is the dominant factor influencing the SS variation among tide, wind (speed and direction), and rainfall in Deep Bay, China. For the monitoring of maximum suspended sediment concentration (SSC), the recommended optimum sampling time coincides with the occurrence of the ebb tides, whereas multiple sampling times are recommended for monitoring of minimum SSC. Although variations of SS are also affected by other factors, the recommended sampling strategy could capture the maximum and minimum SSC variations exactly more than 85% days in a year on average in Deep Bay. This study provides a baseline of SS variation and direct sampling strategy guidance for future SS monitoring and could be extended to other coastal or estuarine waters with similar climatological/tidal exposures.