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Modelling of sediment supply from torrent catchments in the Western Alps using the Sediment Contributing Area (SCA) approach


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Altmann, Moritz ; Haas, Florian ; Heckmann, Tobias ; Liébault, Frédéric ; Becht, Michael:
Modelling of sediment supply from torrent catchments in the Western Alps using the Sediment Contributing Area (SCA) approach.
In: Earth surface processes and landforms : the journal of the British Geomorphological Research Group. 46 (2020) 5. - S. 889-906.
ISSN 0197-9337 ; 1096-9837


Open Access
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The production of coarse sediment in mountain landscapes results mainly from the type and activity of geomorphic processes and topographic and natural conditions (e.g. vegetation cover) of these catchments. The supply of sediment from these slopes to mountain streams and the subsequent transport lead to sediment connectivity, that describes the integrated coupling state of these systems. Studies from the Northern Calcareous Alps show that the size of the sediment contributing area (SCA), a subset of the drainage area that effectively delivers sediment to the channel network, can be used as a predictor of sediment delivery to mountain streams. The SCA concept is delineated on a digital elevation model (DEM) using a set of rules related to the steepness and length of slopes directly adjacent to the channel network, the gradient of the latter and the vegetation cover. The present study investigates the applicability of this concept to the Western Alps to identify geomorphologically active areas and to estimate mean annual sediment yield (SY) in mainly debris‐flow‐prone catchments. We use a statistical approach that shows a parameter optimisation and a linear regression of SY on SCA extent. We use a dataset of ~25 years of assessed coarse sediment accumulation in 35 sediment retention basins. In the investigated catchments sediment transport is governed by several factors, mainly by the extent of vegetation‐free areas with a minimum slope of 23° that is coupled to the channel network with a very low gradient of the latter. With our improved framework, we can show that the SCA approach can be applied to catchments that are widely distributed, in a large spatial scale (hectare area) and very heterogenic in their properties. In general, the investigated catchments show high connectivity, resulting in significant correlations between long‐term average yield and the size of the SCA.

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Sprache des Eintrags:Englisch
Institutionen der Universität:Mathematisch-Geographische Fakultät > Geographie > Lehrstuhl für Physische Geographie
DOI / URN / ID:10.1002/esp.5046
Open Access: Freie Zugänglichkeit des Volltexts?:Ja
Zeitschrift in Zitationsdatenbanken:
Titel an der KU entstanden:Ja
Eingestellt am: 02. Feb 2021 12:07
Letzte Änderung: 07. Dez 2021 19:25
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