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Better budgeting by redundancy, context, and coupling of coarse and fine sediment dynamics (Invited)
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013 (2013)
  • Patrick Belmont, Utah State University
The core principles of sediment budgeting are simple, involving a careful accounting of sediment sources and sinks over a specified spatial extent and time period. However, a long history of sediment budgeting has shown that such numbers are difficult to constrain due to uncertainty in measurements and immense variability in water and sediment fluxes in time and space. As a result, many budgets compiled at the reach or watershed scales are indeterminate with respect to net erosion or deposition. Further, budgets can be highly sensitive to bias if critical processes or contingencies in the landscape are not considered. Over the past decade many new tools and techniques have been developed that can be used to constrain sediment budgets, including software for analysis of high resolution topography data and imagery, in situ monitoring instrumentation, geochemical fingerprinting and particle tracking devices, and increasingly sophisticated models that describe erosion, transport, and deposition in a physically meaningful way. These approaches have the potential to substantially advance budgeting capabilities by providing multiple, redundant sources of information that must be reconciled within the hard constraint of a mass balance. Each independent source of information can add to the level of certainty with which the budget can inform our understanding of sediment inputs, outputs and net change in storage. However, a key technical challenge lies in developing meaningful estimates of uncertainty for each approach. Once developed, rigorous estimates of uncertainty can serve as scaling factors to close the budget in a transparent and parsimonious manner. More broadly, two key conceptual challenges for the future of sediment budgeting include a) placing the components of the budget into the appropriate landscape context with a focus on identifying critical locations where erosion and deposition processes may be amplified or dampened, and b) linking the dynamics of coarse and fine sediment within a sediment routing model. Here we focus on recent theoretical advances for overcoming these challenges, with examples from the Upper Mississippi River and Columbia River watersheds.
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Patrick Belmont. "Better budgeting by redundancy, context, and coupling of coarse and fine sediment dynamics (Invited)" American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013 (2013)
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