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Journal Articles Hydrological Processes Year : 2009

Assessment of suspended sediment transport in four alpine watersheds (France): influence of the climatic regime

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Abstract

High-frequency water discharge and suspended sediment concentration (SSC) databases were collected for 3 years on four contrasted watersheds: the Asse and the Bléone (two Mediterranean rainfall regime watersheds) and the Romanche and the Ferrand (two rainfall-snowmelt regime watersheds). SSCs were calculated from turbidity recordings (1-h time step), converted into SSC values. The rating curve was calculated by means of simultaneous SSC measurement taken by water sampling and turbidity recording. Violent storms during springtime and autumn were responsible for suspended sediment transport on the Asse and the Bléone rivers. On the Ferrand and the Romanche, a large share of suspended sediment transport was also caused by local storms, but 30% of annual fluxes results from snowmelt or icemelt which occurred from April to October. On each watershed, SSC up to 50 g l-1 were observed. Annual specific fluxes ranged from 450 to 800 t km-2 year-1 and 40-80% of annual suspended sediment fluxes occurred within 2% of the time. These general indicators clearly demonstrate the intensity of suspended sediment transport on these types of watersheds. Suspended sediment fluxes proved to be highly variable at the annual scale (inter-annual variability of specific fluxes) as well as at the event scale (through a hysteresis loop in the SSC/Q relationship) on these watersheds. In both cases, water discharge and precipitations were the main processes involved in suspended sediment production and transport. The temporal and spatial variability of hydro-meteorological processes on the watershed provides a better understanding of suspended sediment dynamics.

Dates and versions

insu-00388761 , version 1 (27-05-2009)

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Vincent Mano, Julien Nemery, Philippe Belleudy, Alain Poirel. Assessment of suspended sediment transport in four alpine watersheds (France): influence of the climatic regime. Hydrological Processes, 2009, 23 (5), pp.777-792. ⟨10.1002/hyp.7178⟩. ⟨insu-00388761⟩
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