Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (8): 1059-1071.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1541-6

• 研究论文 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Applying energy theory to understand the relationship between the Yangtze River and Poyang Lake

Mofei CHEN(), Jinyun DENG*(), Shaoying FAN, Yitian LI   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
  • Received:2018-01-12 Accepted:2018-03-02 Online:2018-08-10 Published:2018-08-10
  • Contact: Jinyun DENG;
  • About author:

    Author: Chen Mofei, PhD Candidate, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    State Key Program of National Science Foundation of China, No.41331174;Science and Technology Planning Project of Jiangxi Province, No.20051BBG70044


The complex relationship between the Yangtze River and Poyang Lake controls the exchange of water and sediment between the two, and exerts effects on water resources, flooding, shipping, and the ecological environment. The theory of energy is applied in this paper to investigate the physical mechanisms that determine the nature of the contact between the Yangtze River and Poyang Lake and to establish an energy difference (Fe) index to quantify the interactions between the two systems. Data show that Fe values for this interaction have increased since the 1950s, indicating a weakening in the river effect while the lake effect has been enhanced. Enclosure of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) has also significantly influenced the relationship between the river and the lake by further reducing the impacts of the Yangtze River. The river effect also increases slightly during the dry season, and decreases significantly at the end of the flooding period, while interactions between the two to some extent influence the development of droughts and floods within the lake area. Data show that when the flow of the five rivers within this area is significant and a blocking effect due to the Yangtze River is also clearly apparent, floods occur easily; in contrast, when the opposite is true and the flow of the five rivers is small, and the Yangtze River can accommodate the flow, droughts occur frequently. Construction and enclosure of the TGR also means that the lake area is prone to droughts during September and October.

Key words: Poyang Lake, Yangtze River, river-lake relationship, Three Gorges Reservoir, characterization index