Modelling sediment (dis)connectivity across a river network to understand locational‐transmission‐filter sensitivity for identifying hotspots of potential geomorphic adjustment

Sana Khan*, Kirstie Fryirs, Simone Bizzi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Rivers act as ‘jerky conveyor belts’ that transmit fluxes of flow and sediment downstream. This transmission of fluxes can be highly variable within a drainage basin resulting in either abrupt or gradational sediment (dis)connectivity patterns and processes. This study assesses sediment (dis)connectivity across a basin as a means to understand the locational, transmission and filter sensitivity properties of a fluvial system. Drawing upon the case study of Richmond River Catchment, New South Wales, Australia we use the concepts of effective catchment area and buffers, along with graph theory and an empirical sediment transport model CASCADE (Catchment Sediment Connectivity and Delivery), to assess (1) the degree to which modelled sediment cascades along the river network are connected or disconnected (2) how the position, pattern and configuration of (dis)connection facilitates or restricts geomorphic adjustment in different parts of a catchment, and (3) use the findings as a basis to explain the locational-transmission-filter sensitivity of the catchment. We use this analysis to segregate supply limited and transport limited reaches and identify various controls on sediment dynamics: in-stream sediment storage units, junctions between different geomorphic river types, tributary confluences and sediment storage units within partly confined floodplain units. Such analysis lays the foundation for network scale identification of potential hotspots of geomorphic adjustment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2856-2869
    Number of pages14
    JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
    Volume46
    Issue number14
    Early online date25 Aug 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

    Keywords

    • adjustment
    • GIS
    • graph theory
    • hotspots
    • sediment flux
    • sediment modelling
    • sediment transport

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