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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-25
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2020-25
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 20 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 20 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

A bed load transport equation based on the spatial distribution of shear stress – Oak Creek revisit

Angel Monsalve1,2, Catalina Segura3, Nicole Hucke1, and Scott Katz3,4 Angel Monsalve et al.
  • 1Departamento de Ingeniería de Obras Civiles, Universidad de la Frontera, Francisco Salazar 01145, Temuco, Chile
  • 2Center for Ecohydraulics Research, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Idaho, Boise, ID, 83702
  • 3Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management, Oregon State University, 201 Peavy Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
  • 4Natural Systems Design, Bellingham, WA, 98225

Abstract. Bed load transport formulations for gravel bed-rivers are often based on reach-averaged shear stress values. However, the complexity of the flow field in these systems results in wide distributions of shear stress, whose effects on bed load transport are not well captured by the frequently used bed load transport equations, leading to inaccurate estimates of sediment transport. Here, we modified a subsurface-based bed load transport equation to include the complete distributions of shear stress generated by a given flow within a reach. The equation was calibrated and verified using bed load data measured at Oak Creek, OR. The spatially variable flow field characterization was obtained using a two-dimensional flow model calibrated over a wide range of flows between 0.1 and 1.0 of bankfull discharge. The shape of the distributions of shear stress was remarkably similar across different discharge levels which allowed it to be parameterized in terms of discharge using a Gamma function. When discharge is high enough to mobilize the pavement layer (1.0 m3/s in Oak Creek), the proposed transport equation had a similar performance to the original formulation based on reach-averaged shear stress values. In addition, the proposed equation predicts bed load transport rates for lower flows when the pavement layer is still present because it accounts for bed load transport occurring in a small fraction of the channel bed that experience high values of shear stress. This is an improvement over the original equation, which fails to estimate this bed load flux by relying solely on reach-average shear stress values.

Angel Monsalve et al.

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Angel Monsalve et al.

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Latest update: 24 May 2020
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Short summary
Part of the inaccuracies when estimating bedload transport in gravel-bed rivers is because we are not considering the wide distributions of shear stress in these systems. We modified a subsurface-based bedload transport equation to include these distributions. By doing so, our approach accurately predicts bedload transport rates when the pavement layer is still present while the original one predicts zero transport. For high flows, our method had a similar performance than the original equation.
Part of the inaccuracies when estimating bedload transport in gravel-bed rivers is because we...
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