Growing awareness of the wider environmental significance of fine sediment transport by rivers and associated sediment problems linked to sediment-water quality interactions, nutrient and contaminant transfer, and the degradation of aquatic habitats has resulted in a need for an improved understanding of the mobilisation and transfer of sediment in catchments to inform the development of effective sediment management strategies. The sediment budget provides a key integrating concept for assembling information on the internal functioning of a catchment in terms of its sediment dynamics, by providing information on the mobilisation, transfer, storage and output of sediment. One key feature of a catchment sediment budget is the relationship between the sediment yield at the catchment outlet and rates of sediment mobilisation and transfer within the catchment, which is commonly represented by the sediment delivery ratio. To date, most attempts to derive estimates of this ratio have been based on a comparison of the measured sediment yield from a catchment with an estimate of the erosion occurring within the catchment, derived from an erosion prediction procedure, such as the USLE or RUSLE. There is a need to obtain more direct and spatially distributed evidence of the erosion rates occurring within a catchment and to characterise more explicitly the links between sediment mobilisation, transfer, storage and output. In this context, fallout radionuclides have proved particularly useful as sediment tracers. This paper reports the results of a study aimed at exploring the use of 137Cs measurements to establish sediment budgets for three catchments of different size and contrasting land use located in Calabria, southern Italy. Long-term measurements of sediment output were available for the catchments, and by using the estimates of gross and net rates of soil loss within the catchments provided by 137Cs measurements, it was possible to establish the key components of the sediment budget for each catchment. By documenting the sediment budgets of three catchments of different size, the study provides a basis for exploring the effects of scale on catchment sediment budgets and more particularly the increasing importance of catchment storage as the size of the catchment increases. The results of this study demonstrate a reduction in the sediment delivery ratio from 98% to 2% as catchment area increases from 1.47 ha to 31.2 km2.

USING 137Cs MEASUREMENTS TO ESTABLISH CATCHMENT SEDIMENT BUDGETS AND EXPLORE SCALE EFFECTS

PORTO, Paolo
;
2011

Abstract

Growing awareness of the wider environmental significance of fine sediment transport by rivers and associated sediment problems linked to sediment-water quality interactions, nutrient and contaminant transfer, and the degradation of aquatic habitats has resulted in a need for an improved understanding of the mobilisation and transfer of sediment in catchments to inform the development of effective sediment management strategies. The sediment budget provides a key integrating concept for assembling information on the internal functioning of a catchment in terms of its sediment dynamics, by providing information on the mobilisation, transfer, storage and output of sediment. One key feature of a catchment sediment budget is the relationship between the sediment yield at the catchment outlet and rates of sediment mobilisation and transfer within the catchment, which is commonly represented by the sediment delivery ratio. To date, most attempts to derive estimates of this ratio have been based on a comparison of the measured sediment yield from a catchment with an estimate of the erosion occurring within the catchment, derived from an erosion prediction procedure, such as the USLE or RUSLE. There is a need to obtain more direct and spatially distributed evidence of the erosion rates occurring within a catchment and to characterise more explicitly the links between sediment mobilisation, transfer, storage and output. In this context, fallout radionuclides have proved particularly useful as sediment tracers. This paper reports the results of a study aimed at exploring the use of 137Cs measurements to establish sediment budgets for three catchments of different size and contrasting land use located in Calabria, southern Italy. Long-term measurements of sediment output were available for the catchments, and by using the estimates of gross and net rates of soil loss within the catchments provided by 137Cs measurements, it was possible to establish the key components of the sediment budget for each catchment. By documenting the sediment budgets of three catchments of different size, the study provides a basis for exploring the effects of scale on catchment sediment budgets and more particularly the increasing importance of catchment storage as the size of the catchment increases. The results of this study demonstrate a reduction in the sediment delivery ratio from 98% to 2% as catchment area increases from 1.47 ha to 31.2 km2.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/4984
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 65
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 61
social impact