20 Jan 2022
20 Jan 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Stochastic description of the bedload sediment flux

Kevin Pierce1, Marwan Hassan1, and Rui Ferreira2 Kevin Pierce et al.
  • 1The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract. We present a new formulation of the bedload sediment flux probability distribution. Individual particles obey Langevin equations which are switched on and off by particle entrainment and deposition. The flux is calculated as the rate of many such particles crossing a control surface within a specified observation time. Flux distributions inherit observation-time dependence from the on-off motions of particles. At the longest observation times, distributions converge to sharp peaks around classically-expected values, but at short times, fluctuations are erratic. We relate this scale dependence of bedload transport rates to the movement characteristics of individual grains. This work provides a statistical mechanics description for the fluctuations and observation-scale dependence of sediment transport rates.

Kevin Pierce et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on esurf-2022-4', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Kevin Pierce, 31 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on esurf-2022-4', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Feb 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Kevin Pierce, 01 Apr 2022

Kevin Pierce et al.

Model code and software

Stochastic simulation of grain-scale sediment transport Pierce, K.

Kevin Pierce et al.


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Short summary
We describe the flow of sediment in river channels by replacing the complicated details of the turbulent water by probability arguments. Our major conclusions are that (1) sediment transport can be related simply to the movements of individual sediment grains; (2) transport rates in river channels is inherently uncertain due to turbulence; and (3) particle movement in rivers is directly analogous to a number of phenomena which we understand relatively well, such as molecules moving in the air.