The interaction of river flow, tidal mixing, basin morphology and wind produces a different type of river plume in the Pearl River Estuary. In this paper, a three-dimensional numerical model has been used to study the response of the river plume to different forcings in the Pearl River Estuary. The results indicate that river discharge determines the font size of river plume, while wind greatly affects its shape. Tidal current can restrict diluted water spreading seaward, but contributes little to the net transport of low salinity water. The flushing time can increase by 2 times when considering the Coriolis force, which delays the diluted water flowing out of the flushing area. Southwest winds can greatly decrease the flushing time, while northeast winds can increase it. This rule can also be valid when considering tides.

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