11 Jul 2022
11 Jul 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Coupling between downstream variations of channel width and local pool-riffle bed topography

Shawn M. Chartrand1, A. Mark Jellinek2, Marwan A. Hassan3, and Carles Ferrer-Boix4 Shawn M. Chartrand et al.
  • 1School of Environmental Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 3Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. A potential control of downstream channel width variations on the structure and planform of pool-riffle sequence local bed topography is a key to the dynamics of gravel-bed rivers. How established pool-riffle sequences respond to time-varying shifts in the channel width, however, is largely unexplored and challenging to address with field-based study. Accordingly, here we report results of a flume experiment aimed at building understanding of the response of statistically steady pool-riffle sequences to prescribed channel width adjustments. We find that local bed slopes near steady-state conditions inversely correlate with local width change dynamics, and agree with expectations from scaling theory and a broad set of field-based, numerical and experimental studies (n=88). We also find that coarse sediment release from dam removal can temporally flip the expected inverse correlation, collectively highlighting that local conditions are important for understanding river morphology, and would be overlooked if analysis instead emphasized spatial averaging.

Shawn M. Chartrand 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-2022-40', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 Aug 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on esurf-2022-40', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Aug 2022

Shawn M. Chartrand et al.

Shawn M. Chartrand et al.


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Short summary
Rivers with alternating patterns of shallow and deep flows are commonly observed where a river widens, and then narrows, respectively. But what if width changes in time? We use a lab experiment to address this question and find it is possible to decrease and then increase river width at a specific location, and observe that flows deepen, and then shallow, consistent with expectations. Our observations can inform river restoration and climate adaptation programs that emphasize river corridors.