22 Sep 2022
22 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESurf.

Phenomenological model of suspended sediment transport in a small tropical catchment

Amande Roque-Bernard1, Antoine Lucas1, Eric Gayer1, Pascal Allemand2, Céline Dessert1, and Eric Lajeunesse1 Amande Roque-Bernard et al.
  • 1Université Paris Cité, Institut de physique du globe de Paris, CNRS, F-75005, Paris, France
  • 2Université de Lyon, Université Lyon 1 & ENS Lyon & CNRS, Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, Terre Planètes Environnement, UMR 5276, 69100 Villeurbanne, France

Abstract. We develop a phenomenological model of suspended-sediment transport on the basis of data acquired in the Capesterre river, which drains a small tropical catchment in Guadeloupe. The model correctly represents the transport of suspended sediment during floods, provided that the relation between concentration and water-level forms a counterclockwise loop. In the model, the properties of the sediment and of the river are all lumped into four parameters: a settling velocity related to the size of the suspended sediment, a threshold water-level which acts as a proxy for the threshold shear stress, a characteristic erosion rate and a dimensionless exponent, both of which are related to the availability of fine sediment. The assimilation of field data to our model shows that the value of the parameters change from one flood to the next, probably reflecting changes in the characteristics of the river and the sediment. Finally, a test of the model against data acquired in a small catchment in the french Alps, suggests that the model is versatile enough to be used in diverse hydrological settings.

Amande Roque-Bernard et al.

Status: open (until 04 Nov 2022)

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Amande Roque-Bernard et al.

Amande Roque-Bernard et al.


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Short summary
Sediment transport in rivers is an important matter in the Earth surface dynamics. We offer a new understanding framework of the suspended-sediment transport through observatory chronicles and a simple modelling that is able to catch the behaviour during a flood event as well as time series in a steep river catchment. We validate our approach into both tropical and alpine environments which also offers additional estimates of the size of the suspended sediment.