NGU Report 2007.053 Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing

NGU Report 2007.053 Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
NGU Report 2007.053
Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and
Sediment Budgets in Changing
High-Latitude and High-Altitude
Cold Environments:
SEDIFLUX Manual
Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
High-Latitude and High-Altitude Cold Environments: SEDIFLUX Manual
Sedimentary Source-to-Sink-Fluxes in Cold Environments
(SEDIFLUX)
http://www.ngu.no/sediflux, http://www.esf.org/sediflux
Sediment Budgets in Cold Environments
(SEDIBUD)
http://www.geomorph.org/wg/wgsb.html
Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment
Budgets in Changing High-Latitude and High-Altitude
Cold Environments
SEDIFLUX Manual
First Edition
Editors:
Achim A. Beylicha, b & Jeff Warburtonc
a
Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Landscape & Climate group, Trondheim, Norway
Email: [email protected]
b
Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU),
Dragvoll, Trondheim, Norway
c
Department of Geography, Durham University, UK
Email: [email protected]
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
High-Latitude and High-Altitude Cold Environments: SEDIFLUX Manual
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Content
Contributors…………………………………………………………...……...…….9
Preface……………………………………………………………………….……..15
Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………16
PART A – SEDIMENT BUDGET FRAMEWORKS AND THE
QUANTIFICATION OF SEDIMENT TRANSFER IN COLD
ENVIRONMENTS………………………………………………………...………..17
Chapter 1 – Introduction and background: Sediment fluxes and sediment
budgets in changing cold environments – A summary of key
issues…………………………………………………………………..…………...19
Fiona S. Tweed, Andrew J. Russell, Jeff Warburton & Achim A. Beylich
1.0 Summary of chapter contents……………………………………………..19
1.1 Key issues and context……………………………………………………..19
1.2 The significance of sediment budget studies…………………………..21
1.3 Sediment budgets in cold environments………………………………..23
1.3.1 The landsystems framework…………………………………………….26
1.3.2 Sediment sources………………………………………………………….27
1.3.3 Sediment transfers………………………………………………………...28
1.3.4 Sediment stores/sinks…………………………………………………….28
1.3.5 Timescale issues…………………………………………………………..29
1.4 Holistic flow model…………………………………………………………..32
1.5 Conclusions…………………………………………………………………..34
Chapter 2 – Analysis of sediment storage: Geological and
geomorphological context……………………………………………………...37
Bernd Etzelmüller & Jeff Warburton; with contributions from Denis Mercier,
Samuel Etienne & Regula Frauenfelder
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2.0 Introduction…………………………………………………………………...37
2.1 Catchment definition………………………………………………………...38
2.2 Geological and geographical setting (boundary conditions)………..39
2.2.1 Bedrock and surficial geology…………………………………………..39
2.2.2 Tectonic, seismic and volcanic considerations……………………...39
2.2.3 Refief characterisation……………………………………………………40
2.2.4 Permafrost ground ice conditions……………………………………...40
2.2.5 Vegetation and soils………………………………………………………41
2.3 Recognition of storage elements………………………………………….42
2.4 Quantification of storage elements……………………………………….45
2.4.1 Definition of storage volumes…………………………………………...45
2.4.2 Classification of storages………………………………………………..46
2.4.3 Dating of storages (Chronology of storage)………………………….47
2.4.3.1 Relative age dating……………………………………………………...48
2.4.3.2 Absolute age dating……………………………………………………..51
2.4.4 Assessing the stability of storage elements………………………….52
2.5 Integrating the approach into a GIS………………………………………53
2.6 Conclusions…………………………………………………………..……….54
Chapter 3 – Measurement of present-day sediment fluxes……………….61
Coordinated by Karl-Heinz Schmidt
3.0 Introduction (Achim A.Beylich)……………………………………………...61
3.1 Weather stations (Susan Wache)…………………………………………..61
3.2 Fluvial sediment transport………………………..………….…………….63
3.2.1 Suspended load (Karl-Heinz Schmidt)…..………………………………63
3.2.2 Bedload transport (Dorothea Gintz & David Morche)………………….65
3.2.3 Dissolved load (Zbigniew Zwoliński)…………….……………………....68
3.3 Slope wash (Florian Haas & Tobias Heckmann)……………...…………..72
3.4 Solifluction (Marie Chenet & Hanna Ridefelt)………….………………….75
3.5 Aeolian processes (Jukka Käyhkö).............……………………………....77
3.6 Mass movement processes………………………………………….……..80
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3.6.1 Debris flows (Armelle Decaulne & Þorsteinn Sæmundsson)…….……80
3.6.2 Snow avalanches (Tobias Heckmann)………………………...…….…..83
3.6.3 Rockfalls (Michael Krautblatter) …………………………………..……...84
3.7 Extreme events (Armelle Decaulne & Þorsteinn Sæmundsson)...……...87
3.8 Magnitude and frequency (Tobias Heckmann)……………………..……88
3.9 Conclusions (Achim A. Beylich)……………………………………...……..91
PART B – RECORDING AND DOCUMENTING FIELD MEASUREMENTS.93
Chapter 4 – Selection of critical key test catchments…………………....95
Achim A. Beylich, Scott F. Lamoureux, Armelle Decaulne,
Robert G. Björk & Fiona S. Tweed
4.0 Introduction…………………………………………………………………...95
4.1 Selection of critical key test sites…………………………………………96
4.2 List of requirements for proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD key test
sites…………………………………………………………………………………96
4.3 Information on the proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD key test site……97
4.4 Information on ongoing and recently completed projects at the
proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD key test site………………………………...99
4.5 Information on the SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD member and main contact
person responsible for the proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD key test
site…………………………………………………………………...…………….100
Chapter 5 – Integration and synthesis of cold environment sediment
flux data……………………………………………………………………….…..101
Hugues Lantuit, Achim A. Beylich & Scott F. Lamoureux
5.1 Introduction……………………………………………….…...…………….101
5.2 Catchment summary information………………………………………..102
5.2.1 SEDIFLUX-ID………………………………………………………………102
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5.2.2 Metadata……………………………………………………………………102
5.2.3 Climate……………………………………………………………………..103
5.2.4 Physiography……………………………………………………………..104
5.2.5 Vegetation………………………………………………………………….104
5.2.6 Hydrology………………………………………………………………….105
5.2.7 Permafrost…………………………………………………………………105
5.2.8 Literature and comments……………………………………………….106
5.3 Data table…………………………………………………………………….106
5.3.1 Environmental forcing…………………………………………………..107
5.3.2 Hydrology………………………………………………………………….108
5.3.3 Sediment budget – contribution of slope processes to the overall
sediment yield…………………………………………………………………...109
5.3.4 Solutes……………………………………………………………………..111
5.3.5 Organic and inorganic matter………………………………………….112
5.4 Data quality…………………………………………………………………..113
5.5 Representation of outputs in tables and diagrams…………………..113
Prospect (Achim A. Beylich & Scott F. Lamoureux)………………………….117
Preliminary selection of SEDIBUD key test sites………………………….119
References………………………………………………………………………..123
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Contributors
Achim A. Beylich
Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Landscape & Climate group, Leiv Eirikssons vei
39, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway; and
Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
(NTNU), Dragvoll, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
Email: [email protected]
Robert G. Björk
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Göteborg University, P.O. Box
461, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
Email: [email protected]
Marie Chenet
Laboratoire de Géographie Physique, CNRS UMR 8591, Université Paris 1, France
Email: [email protected]
Armelle Decaulne
Géolab, Laboratory of Physical Geography, UMR 6042 CNRS, 4 rue Ledru, F-63057
Clermont-Ferrand Cedex, France; and
Natural Research Centre of Northwestern Iceland, Adalgata 2, IS-550 Sauđárkrókur,
Iceland
Email: [email protected]
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Samuel Etienne
Department of Geography, University Blaise Pascal & Geolab, Maison de la
Recherche, F-63057 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 1, France
Email: [email protected]
Bernd Etzelmüller
Institute of Geosciences, Physical Geography, University of Oslo, PO Box 1047 –
Blindern, Sem Sælands vei 1, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
Email: [email protected]
Regula Frauenfelder
Institute of Geosciences, Physical Geography, University of Oslo, PO Box 1047 –
Blindern, Sem Sælands vei 1, N-0316 Oslo, Norway
Email: [email protected]
Dorothea Gintz
Physical Geography, Institute for Geosciences, Martin-Luther-University HalleWittenberg, D-06099 Halle/S., Germany
Email: [email protected]
Florian Haas
Fachgebiet Geographie der KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Lehrstuhl für Physische
Geographie, Ostenstrasse 18, D-85072 Eichstätt, Germany
Email: [email protected]
Tobias Heckmann
Fachgebiet Geographie der KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Lehrstuhl für Physische
Geographie, Ostenstrasse 18, D-85072 Eichstätt, Germany
Email: [email protected]
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Jukka Käyhkö
Department of Geography, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland
Email: [email protected]
Michael Krautblatter
Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 166, D-53115
Bonn, Germany
Email: [email protected]
Scott F. Lamoureux
Department of Geography, Queen`s University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada
Email: [email protected]
Hugues Lantuit
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Research Unit
Potsdam, Telegrafenberg A 43, D-14473 Potsdam, Germany
Email: [email protected]
Denis Mercier
University of Nantes, Géolittomer UMR 6554 LETG, BP 81227, F-44312 Nantes
cedex 3, France
Emai: [email protected]
David Morche
Physical Geography, Institute for Geosciences, Martin-Luther-University HalleWittenberg, D-06099 Halle/S., Germany
Email: [email protected]
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Hanna Ridefelt
Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and Landscape Dynamics, University of
Uppsala, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
Email: [email protected]
Andrew J. Russell
School of Geography, Politics & Sociology, University of Newcastle, Daysh Building,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
Email: [email protected]
Karl-Heinz Schmidt
Physical Geography, Institute for Geosciences, Martin-Luther-University HalleWittenberg, D-06099 Halle/S., Germany
Email: [email protected]
Þorsteinn Sæmundsson
Natural Research Centre of Northwestern Iceland, Adalgata 2, IS-550 Sauđárkrókur,
Iceland
Email: [email protected]
Fiona S. Tweed
Department of Geography, Staffordshire University, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent,
Staffordshire, ST4 2DE, UK
Email: [email protected]
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Susan Wache
Physical Geography, Institute for Geosciences, Martin-Luther-University HalleWittenberg, D-06099 Halle/S., Germany
Email: [email protected]
Jeff Warburton
Department of Geography, Durham University, Science Laboratories, Durham, DH1
3LE, UK
Email: [email protected]
Zbigniew Zwolinski
Institute of Paleogeography and Geoecology, Adam Mickiewicz University,
Dziegielowa 27, 61-680 Poznan, Poland
Email: [email protected]
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Preface
This First Edition of the SEDIFLUX Manual is an outcome of the European
Science Foundation (ESF) Network SEDIFLUX – Sedimentary Source-toSink-Fluxes in Cold Environments (2004 – 2006) (http://www.ngu.no/sediflux,
http://www.esf.org/sediflux) (Beylich et al., 2005; 2006). The development of
this publication has been based on four ESF SEDIFLUX Science Meetings,
which were held in Sauđárkrókur (Iceland), June 18th – 21st, 2004, ClermontFerrand (France), January 20th – 22nd, 2005, Durham (UK), December 16th –
19th, 2005 and Trondheim (Norway), October 29th - November 2nd, 2006.
The aim of this Manual is to provide guidance on developing quantitative
frameworks for characterising catchment (field -based) sediment budget
studies, so that: (1) baseline measurements at SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD key test
catchment are standardised thus enabling intersite comparisons, and (2) longterm changes in catchment geosystems as related to climate change are well
documented. The main focus is on non-glacial processes, although within the
context of glacierised catchments glacial sediment transfer processes are
assumed as inputs/outputs of the periglacial / paraglacial system.
We would like to thank all contributing authors for their work on this First
Edition of the SEDIFLUX Manual. We also would like to acknowledge the
critical comments by numerous colleagues, which have helped to improve this
First Edition.
This First Edition of the SEDIFLUX Manual’ will be further developed within
the I.A.G./A.I.G. Working Group SEDIBUD – Sediment Budgets in Cold
Environments (http://www.geomorph.org/wg/wgsb.html).
Comments and suggestions for improvement of this SEDIFLUX Manual are
very welcome.
Achim A. Beylich
Chairman
Trondheim, August 2007
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Thanks to Sarah Verleysdonk (University of Bonn) for assisting with several
literature searches and to Rosemary Duncan (Staffordshire University) for her
help with Figure 1.1.
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Part A
Sediment Budget Frameworks and the Quantification
of Sediment Transfer in Cold Environments
SEDIBUD Key Test Site: Erdalen (Nordfjord, Norway) (Photo by O. Fredin, NGU)
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Chapter 1 – Introduction and background:
Sediment fluxes and sediment budgets in changing cold
environments – a summary of key issues
1.0 SUMMARY OF CHAPTER CONTENTS
This chapter 1 provides an introduction to the SEDIFLUX Manual, constituting
a brief review of key research on sediment budgets in cold environments. The
context of, and justification for such research is explained and key terms
presented and defined. The review identifies and summarises holistic issues
that frame research on sediment budgets in cold environments and highlights
the current state of research on sediment transfer studies in Polar, sub-Polar,
alpine, fringe and glaciated catchments. The main focus is on non-glacial
processes (periglacial and paraglacial sediment systems), although within the
context of glacierised catchments direct glacial sediment transfer processes
are treated as a separate subsystem with inputs into the larger ctachment.
Glacier sediment systems are dealt with already in a range of excellent texts
documenting conceptual approaches to glacial landsystems (Evans, 2003)
and methods of studying these important sedimentary environments (Hubbard
& Glasser, 2005).
1.1 KEY ISSUES AND CONTEXT
Geomorphologic processes, responsible for transferring sediments and
effecting landform change, are highly dependent on climate, vegetation cover
and human activities. It is anticipated that climate change will have a major
impact on the behaviour of Earth surface systems and that the most profound
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changes will occur in high-latitude and high-altitude environments (Beylich et
al., 2005; 2006), where rapid temperature increases could lead to potentially
irreversible shifts in hydrologic regime and geomorphologic processes. Given
these expected changes, it is critical to develop a better understanding of the
mechanisms of sedimentary transfer processes currently operating in cold
environments, their likely controls and the expected nature of responses to
changing climate (e.g. Allard, 1996; Haeberli & Beniston 1998; Lamoureux,
1999; Boelhouwers et al., 2001; Ballantyne, 2002; Holmes et al., 2002;
Matmon et al., 2003; Slaymaker et al., 2003; Gebhardt et al., 2005; Beylich et
al., 2003; 2005; 2006). Quantitative analyses of sediment transfers have
largely been confined to other climatic zones (e.g. Dunbar et al., 2000;
Thomas, 2003), and therefore integrated studies of source-to-sink sediment
fluxes in cold environments are overdue. Collection, comparison and
evaluation of data and knowledge from a range of different high-latitude and
high-altitude environments are required to permit greater understanding of
sediment fluxes. Given the diverse nature of existing research in cold
environments, it is also vital to develop standardised methods and
approaches for future research on sediment fluxes and relationships between
climate and sedimentary transfer processes. Studies of the impacts of such
change over contemporary and historic timescales will provide valuable input
into debates on land and resource management in cold environments and
permit modelling of the effects of climate change, and related changes in
vegetation cover, through space-for-time substitution (Beylich et al. 2005;
2006).
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This SEDIFLUX Manual summarises our current understanding of
sediment budgets in cold environments and provides guidelines for the
monitoring of sediment budgets in small catchments. Although modelling of
sediment budgets is a fundamental part of research in changing cold
environments, a strong framework of monitoring and the development of
standardised methods of operational data collection constitute the baseline for
such modelling. Therefore, this manual focuses on the selection of critical test
catchments for effective monitoring, analysis of sediment storage, analysis of
present-day sediment fluxes and the integration and synthesis of data using
standardised protocols (Beylich et al., 2005; 2006).
1.2 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SEDIMENT BUDGET STUDIES
Research on sediment budgets in a variety of different environments is
represented by a substantial body of literature (e.g. Rapp, 1960; Oldfield,
1977; Swanson et al., 1982; Gallie & Slaymaker, 1984; Foster et al., 1985;
Gurnell & Clark, 1987; Caine & Swanson, 1989; Warburton, 1990; Jordan &
Slaymaker, 1991; Caine, 1992; Beylich, 2000; accepted; Beylich et al., 2005;
2006; Holmes et al., 2002; Johnson & Warburton, 2002; Slaymaker et al.,
2003; Otto & Dikau, 2004; Vezzoli, 2004; Habersack & Schober, 2005; and
Nichols et al., 2005). The ‘first’ sediment budget study was developed by
Jäckli (1957) working in the catchment of the Upper Rhine. The fundamentals
of this approach and methodologies for the development of a sediment budget
are best summarised in Reid & Dunne (1996).
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A sediment budget is “an accounting of the sources and disposition of
sediment as it travels from its point of origin to its eventual exit from a
drainage basin” (Reid & Dunne, 1996, p. 3). The development of a sediment
budget necessitates the identification of processes of erosion, transportation
and deposition within a catchment, and their rates and controls (Reid &
Dunne, 1996; Slaymaker, 2000). The fundamental concept underpinning
sediment budget studies is the basic sediment mass balance equation:
I = O + ∆S
Eq. (1)
Where inputs (I) equal outputs (O) plus changes in net storage of
sediment (∆S). Sediment budget studies permit quantification of the transport
and storage of sediment in a system (Warburton, 1990; 1992; Reid & Dunne,
1996). A thorough understanding of the current sediment production and
transport regime within a system is fundamental to predicting the likely effects
of changes to the system, whether climatic-induced or human-influenced.
Sediment budget research therefore enables the prediction of changes to
erosion and sedimentation rates, knowledge of where sediment will be
deposited, how long it will be stored and how such sediment will be remobilised (e.g. Gurnell & Clark, 1987; Reid & Dunne, 1996). A key utility of
such research is that the empirical results of sediment budget studies can be
applied to other catchments with similar land-use, geology, soils and climate
providing that processes are sufficiently understood and the results
recognised as estimates (Reid & Dunne, 1996).
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1.3 SEDIMENT BUDGETS IN COLD ENVIRONMENTS
Geomorphological processes are dependent on climate and will be
significantly affected by climate change, especially in high-latitude and highaltitude environments. Integrated research on sediment budgets has to-date
been undertaken chiefly in other climatic zones; therefore understanding of
sediment transfer processes is needed to determine the consequences of
climate change in cold environments and the potential impacts of such
changes on other parts of the Earth’s surface (Beylich et al., 2005; 2006).
For the purposes of this manual, definitions of key terms are crucial. In
using the term ‘cold environments’, we are referring to areas of the Earth’s
surface that show evidence of frost processes and seasonal snow cover;
Tricart (1970, p.12) defined cold environments as those in which the
conversion of water to the solid state plays an important role. This definition
effectively delimits high-latitude and high-altitude regions, or polar, sub-polar,
alpine and ‘fringe’ upland environments. Cold environments therefore
encompass glaciated terrain and areas with frequent diurnal freeze-thaw
cycles or intense seasonal frost, with or without permafrost. Such a definition
is easy to apply in a broad qualitative sense, a chief distinction frequently
being made between zonal (latitudinal) cold regions and azonal (altitudinal)
cold environments (Hewitt, 2002). However, detailed differentiation of cold
environments can be problematic as zonal and azonal cold areas can be
temporally and spatially heterogeneous (Zhang et al., 2003); this has led to
further distinctions, based primarily on process regime, between, for example,
mountainous and lowland relief and glaciated and non-glaciated areas. Shifts
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in zones of continuous, discontinuous and sporadic and isolated permafrost,
seasonal changes in frost activity and freeze-thaw frequency also make the
accurate demarcation of cold environments somewhat difficult.
The key characteristics of sediment transfer in cold environments
include: phase changes of water resulting in sediment mobilisation, seasonal
transfer of sediment, glacial processes and processes intrinsic to past
glaciation, ground ice dynamics and associated sediment mass transfer and
direct transport processes related to frozen water (for example, avalanches,
slush flows). Indirect effects of cold also act to subtly modify common
weathering, fluvial, aeolian, slope and coastal process regimes (Hewitt, 2002).
In cold environments, climate change influences earth surface processes not
just by altering vegetation and human activities, but also through its impact on
frost penetration and duration within ground surface layers. Climate change
also exerts a strong control on cryospheric systems, influencing the nature
and extent of glaciers and ice sheets, and the extent and severity of glacial
and
periglacial
processes.
Changes
within
the
cryosphere
have
consequences for glacifluvial, aeolian and marine sediment transfer systems.
All of these factors influence spatial and temporal patterns of erosion,
transportation and deposition of sediments (Beylich et al., 2005; 2006).
There is often a significant imbalance between material production and
transport in cold environments because of former glacial activity. The
presence of glaciers and ice sheets results in the over-steepening of relief due
to glacier erosion and paraglacial slope readjustment produces large sediment
stores available for erosion (e.g. Ballantyne, 2000). Extensive reworking of
glacigenic sediments is reported from a range of cold environments (e.g.
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Barnard et al., 2006). In mountainous terrain, recent research suggests that
landsliding both produces and retains large volumes of sediment accounting
for partial regulation of catchment sediment flux (e.g. Korup, 2005). Research
in the Himalayas, Tien Shan and New Zealand has demonstrated that
rockslide and moraine dams in mountainous terrain have marked impacts on
sediment budgets following failure (e.g. Cenderelli & Wohl, 2003; Korup et al.,
2006). Increasing formation and drainage of moraine- and rockslide-dammed
lakes is predicted to accompany climate change (e.g. Richardson & Reynolds,
2000; Chikita & Yamada, 2005). Short-term storage and release of sediment
in proglacial channels controls the pattern of suspended sediment transfer
from Alpine glacial basins in which significant sediment source and storage
areas are exposed by glacial retreat (e.g. Orwin & Smart, 2004).
Changing hydrological regimes have implications for channel erosion,
storage and aggradation in cold environments. The presence of water is as
important as the severity of cold in determining sediment transfer rates
through for example, the generation of excess moisture during surface thaw
and melt (e.g. Matsuoka & Sakai, 1999; Hasholt et al., 2005). However, the
geomorphic significance of the phase change of water from liquid to solid is
still poorly understood because of the lack of data (Warburton, 2007). This
has implications for the understanding of climate change impacts on cold
environment sediment budgets.
There have been very few truly integrated studies of sediment transfer
in cold environment catchments; exceptions are provided by Maizels, 1979;
Hammer & Smith, 1983; Gurnell & Clark, 1987; Warburton, 1990; 1992; and
Beylich, accepted. There is some knowledge of discrete processes and
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landforms in cold environment systems, but less understanding of the nature
of the links between systems and their variability (e.g. Korup, 2002; Harris &
Murton, 2005). This constitutes a research gap that should be addressed,
especially given the backdrop of climate change.
1.3.1 THE LANDSYSTEMS FRAMEWORK
A landsystem is an area with common terrain attributes different to
those of adjacent areas, and as such, is scale independent (Cooke &
Doornkamp, 1990; Evans, 2003). The landsystems approach constitutes a
holistic form of terrain evaluation and is useful for a variety of purposes (e.g.
Cooke & Doornkamp, 1990). Landsystem classifications are usually derived
from mapping where both topography and geomorphology constitute the
primary differentiating criteria for assigning landsystems, each of which
should, in theory, contain a predictable combination of landforms, soils and
vegetation. Landsystems are divided into smaller areas termed units and
elements.
In glacial, high-mountain and cold climate geomorphology, landsystems
have traditionally been used as a tool for reconstruction of past glacial
processes and the dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers as well as providing
engineers with process-form models of glacigenic landform-sediment
assemblages. The high mountain landsystem is summarized by Fookes et al.
(1985); highlighting five major terrain zones: high altitude glacial and
periglacial; free rock faces and debris slopes; degraded middle slopes and
ancient valley floors; active lower slopes and valley floors (see Chapter 2).
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Evans (2003) synthesises definitive research on glacial landsystems, building
on earlier work by Clayton & Moran, (1974); Fookes et al., (1978); Eyles
(1983); Brodzikowski & van Loon (1987) and Krüger (1994). A series of
landsystems are presented by Evans (2003), constituting process-form
models relating to specific glaciation styles and dynamics. Ancient and
modern glacial landsystems are represented on a continuum of scales, from
valley glaciers to ice sheets. Ballantyne (2002) applies a landsystems
approach to paraglacial landforms and sediment assemblages, enabling the
identification of six paraglacial landsystems, based on locational context.
A possible weakness of most landsystems classifications, and one
explicitly identified by Ballantyne (2002) in the context of paraglacial
landsystems, is that they do not identify the fact that different elements of the
landscape evolve over different timescales or the nature of the connections
between particular landsystems. The approach however, does permit the
characterization of process interactions between parts of each landsystem
and is therefore useful for characterising different cold environments.
1.3.2 SEDIMENT SOURCES
Sediment sources in cold environments are diverse and subject to
variation in response to changing climate. Climatic warming results in the loss
of glacial ice, which in turn increases avalanching, landslides and slope
instability caused by glacial de-buttressing, and flooding from glacial and
moraine-dammed lakes (e.g. Evans & Clague, 1994; Ballantyne, 2002). All of
these processes redistribute sediment and operate at different rates as a
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result of change to the system. Glaciers and ice sheets exert strong controls
on the supply of sediment to catchments in cold environments. Knight et al.
(2002) identify the basal ice layer of a section of the Greenland ice sheet as
the dominant source of sediment production. There is, however, limited
knowledge of debris fluxes from ice sheets and glaciers and its variability.
1.3.3 SEDIMENT TRANSFERS
Some drainage basins are well coupled with efficient sediment transfer.
The Ganges catchment is a tightly coupled source-to-sink area, the catchment
basin to the coastal and marine sink, with sedimentary signals being
transferred rapidly from source to sink with little attenuation (Goodbred, 2005).
The tight linkage of source-to-sink component is a function of the monsoon’s
control of the hydrology of the region. Gordeev (2006), using models
developed by Morehead et al. (2003), estimated the increase in sediment load
in Arctic rivers in reponse to a rise in surface temperature of the catchments.
Based on this model, concomitant increases in river discharge lead to an
increase in the sediment flux of the six largest Arctic rivers, predicted to range
from 30% to 122% by 2100.
1.3.4 SEDIMENT STORES/SINKS
The identification of storage elements is critical to the effective study of
sediment budgets (Reid & Dunne, 1996). The setting of a particular catchment
defines the boundary conditions for storage within that catchment. Within a
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given catchment, the slope and valley fill elements constitute the key storage
units and individual landform storage volumes are important for addressing
time-dependent sediment budget dynamics. Dating of storage in sediment
budget studies is employed to determine the ages and chronology of the key
storage components within a system; the type of dating used and the nature
of the approach adopted depend on the characteristics of the catchment.
Dating usually defaults to the application of relative dating methods to identify
the chronology of sedimentation rather than the absolute age.
Several issues are apparent in considering the identification and
quantification of sediment storages in cold environments for integration into
sediment budget studies. Understanding of the nature of primary stores,
secondary stores and the potential storage capacities of different types of
catchment is critical along with knowledge of sediment residence times. The
development of effective and innovative field methods, such as geophysical
techniques for estimating sediment storage volumes in cold environments
(e.g. Schrott et al., 2003; Sass, 2005) is also becoming increasingly important.
1.3.5 TIMESCALE ISSUES
Timescales exert important controls on the nature and rates of earth
surface processes. Sediment output is not uniform in time; on short
timescales, variability in catchment conditions causes variability in sediment
production and supply (e.g. Trustrum et al., 1999) which is a product of the
stochastic nature of geomorphic systems (Benda & Dunne, 1997). Despite the
apparent simplicity of the sediment mass balance equation (see 1.2)
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characterising the sediment budget of even small catchments is difficult and
extrapolating results from year to year and to other areas in similar
environments even more so.
In paraglacial environments, accumulations of coarse clastic debris
from the Holocene are stored in many basins and therefore the contemporary
rates of sediment production are not reflected in sediment yields from such
catchments (Ballantyne, 2002; Caine, 2004). There is an inverse relationship
between basin area and denudation rates in numerous catchments, especially
those in mountain areas, which can be attributed to increased sediment
storage in large basins. Basins in unstable tectonic settings have denudation
rates that are an order of magnitude higher than those in more stable tectonic
settings (e.g. Ahnert, 1970). Estimations of denudation rates can be derived
by other methods; for example, by examining sedimentation rates in lakes and
in coastal and continental shelf environments (e.g. Dearing & Foster, 1993;
Buoncristiani & Campy, 2001; Carter et al., 2002; Slaymaker et al., 2003).
There is concern over use of denudation rates for extrapolation over
longer time periods, as most records of river flow and sediment yields are
short (c. 50 years) and seldom include large events (Caine, 2004). These
events are significant, particularly in mountainous environments (Beylich &
Sandberg, 2005; Beylich et al., 2006). Warburton (1990) emphasises the
importance of event duration in determining the final sediment budget for a
system; an important consideration is the length of the study period and
whether this represents processes in the catchment. For example, Walling
(1978) recommended that 10 years of monitoring are required before the
sediment transport system can be adequately understood, yet more recent
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research suggests that study periods need to be much longer to fully
understand the relative importance of different processes and the magnitude
of differences in sediment transfer between different cold environments (e.g.
Ballantyne & Harris, 1994). Further research on lag times in different types of
catchment is critical in this respect; for example, Johnson & Warburton (2005)
found that steep upland catchments do not liberate eroded sediment
immediately to lower elevations therefore implying that sediment yield from
some systems might be less severe or more lagged than expected.
Average values for sediment fluxes neglect both the inter-annual
variability in such systems and do not reflect the magnitude and frequency of
geomorphic events (Wolman & Miller, 1960) leading to sediment transfer
variation. The relative importance of continuous versus episodic sediment
supply processes in different catchments needs to be better understood.
Episodic events exert profound control on sediment budgets in cold
environments, especially in high mountainous regions; for example, outburst
flows from ice-, moraine- and landslide-dammed lakes can mobilise large
quantities of sediment over short time periods. However, quantification of the
contribution of such debris pulses to long-term sediment budgets is difficult to
determine because of limited data on their recurrence and the lack of
knowledge of the extent of upstream sediment input (e.g. Korup et al., 2004).
Benda & Dunne (1997), working in the Oregon Coast Range found that
short-term and inter-annual variability of sediment load decreases with
increasing catchment size, emphasising shifts from high-magnitude, low
sediment discharge events to intermediate magnitude and frequency. Lewis
et al. (2005) comment on the fact that even short-term variability in suspended
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sediment concentrations is seldom resolved in catchments; ergo, sediment
fluxes from large but short-lived events are poorly documented. An
understanding of the longer-term dynamics of change is necessary; in order to
evaluate the significance of such change longer-term sediment budget studies
need to be developed (e.g. Braun et al., 2000).
1.4 HOLISTIC FLOW MODEL
The conceptual diagram presented in Figure 1.1 illustrates primary and
secondary sediment stores and identifies key sediment transfer processes,
sources, transfers, sinks and linkages and sediment storage associations in
cold environments. The Figures 1.1 and 1.2 provide an assessment and
overview of the areas that are understood and those on which more research
is required.
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Figure 1.1. Cold environment sediment cascade, illustrating primary and secondary
sediment stores and key sediment transfer processes. Modified from Ballantyne (2002,
p. 2004, Fig. 54)
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
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Figure 1.2. Paraglacial landforms, fluxes and deposits in a polar environment.
Modified from Mercier (2007, p. 347, Fig.3)
1.5 CONCLUSIONS
This Chapter, by briefly summarising key conceptual issues on
sediment budgets in cold environments, has provided an introduction to the
main ideas, which underpin this SEDIFLUX Manual. The review has identified
issues that frame research on sediment budgets in cold environments.
Several important research issues and gaps have emerged from this review.
Firstly, cold environments are especially sensitive to climate change has been
forecast, but the nature of, and the spatial and temporal variations in, such
sensitivity are the most pressing questions facing our understanding of the
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potential impacts of climate change in cold environments. It is apparent that
there are few integrated studies of sediment transfer and that this is especially
true of cold environments. Research needs to better identify the nature of the
links between different landsystems, especially with regard to periglacial and
glacial sediment systems. There is concern over the use of denudation rates
for extrapolation over longer time periods (Beylich & Sandberg, 2005; Beylich
et al., 2006) and longer-term sediment budget models need to be developed
to facilitate the prediction of future sediment fluxes. Field monitoring is crucial
to cold environment sediment budget investigations, and the development of
effective and innovative field methods, such as geophysical techniques for
estimating regolith thickness and sediment storage volumes (e.g. Schrott et
al., 2003; Beylich et al., 2003; 2004), better dating techniques for determining
long-term changes in sediment delivery (e.g. Blake et al., 2002) is vital to
further research. Sediment budget studies have tended to concentrate on
small scale catchments as units of assessment; additional upscaling from
small-scale studies to larger scale sediment systems coupling headwaters to
oceanic sinks is needed to further improve knowledge on the relative
importance of sediment transfer processes and the potential impact of climate
change on cold environment sediment fluxes (Warburton, 2007).
It is necessary to collect and to compare data and knowledge from a
wide range of different high latitude and high altitude environments and to
apply more standardised methods and approaches for future research on
sediment fluxes and relationships between climate and sedimentary transfer
processes in cold environments. Previous sediment budget studies can
provide base-line data for comparison with further sediment budgets or for
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predictions of future changes in sediment fluxes. Strong monitoring,
operational data collection and more standardized methods will provide a
baseline for the development of reliable models and for future research in cold
environments (Beylich, accepted; Beylich et al.; 2005; 2006). The remainder
of this SEDIFLUX Manual will examine the key areas by which research on
sediment
budgets
in
cold
environments
recommendations for such research.
36
can
be
advanced
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Chapter 2 –
Analysis of sediment storage:
Geological and geomorphological context
2.0 INTRODUCTION
The overall aim of this chapter is to provide a geological and geomorphologic
context for considering sediment storage in cold environment small catchment
geosystems. Consideration is given to the definition of basic catchment
characteristics, including geology, topography and relief, and frozen ground
conditions (Section 2.2). This is considered within a landsystem framework
(Figure 2.1). Guidance is given for the best way to recognise the key storage
elements in both slope and fluvial settings and evaluating them within the
overall sediment budget framework (Section 2.3). Methods for quantifying
storage elements are described in Section 2.4. The key measurements
involve the two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) definition of
storage volumes, classification of storage types and materials, dating of
storage units (chronology of storage), and assessment of the stability (activity)
of storage elements through both contemporary process measurements and
dating. The stability of storage elements can be defined in terms of active
sediment stores - frequently reworked by contemporary geomorphic activity,
semi active stores – only activated during extreme events, and inactive stores
– sediment which is stored in the landscape from processes and events that
no longer occur. Key issues surrounding the best ways of characterising the
temporal and spatial variability in storages are evaluated in Section 2.5. For
each sub-task minimum requirements are outlined and recommendations for
additional investigation techniques are given (dependent on catchment size).
Methods are summarized in a look-up table at the end of the chapter. Much of
the information presented is well suited for incorporation into a Geographical
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Information System (GIS) and a brief note, advising on the best approach in
doing this, is outlined.
Figure 2.1. Land system diagram of a high mountain environment showing five major terrain
zones: (1) High altitude glacial and periglacial; (2) Free rock faces and debris slopes; (3)
Degraded middle slopes and ancient valley floors; (4) active lower slopes; and (5) valley floors.
(Source: Fookes et al. 1985)
2.1 CATCHMENT DEFINITION
A catchment is defined as a fundamental hydrological and geomorphological
unit. A major goal of SEDIFLUX and SEDIBUD is to address sediment fluxes
integrated over catchment areas (Beylich et al. 2005; 2006). Small
catchments are in general restricted to areas of less than 30 km2 (Chapter 4).
This is an operational definition, which is suited to the scale of sediment
budget studies. Consideration of scale and its implication in controlling
sediment flux is addressed in Chapter 1 and will be considered by selecting a
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number of larger drainage basin key test sites with nested small catchment
key test sites (Chapter 4). Quantitative measurements of sediment transfer
processes operating in small catchments are described in Chapter 3, hence
the focus of this Chapter 2 is to address conditions governing these processes
at a similar scale.
2.2
GEOLOGICAL
AND
GEOGRAPHICAL
SETTING
(BOUNDARY
CONDITIONS)
2.2.1 BEDROCK AND SURFICIAL GEOLOGY
Bedrock geology, both solid and surface sediments act as important controls
on geomorphic processes. The implications of this should be considered in all
sediment budget studies. This requires definition of the major bedrock types in
a catchment and the distribution of superficial deposits. These units should be
mapped at a scale appropriate to the objectives of the sediment budget study
e.g. susceptibilities for landsliding, rock fall and frost action. Such information
can be obtained from the best available geological maps. It is important that
the major bedrock types and faults/thrusts within the catchment can be
identified. Where such information (i.e. maps, third party data) is not available,
a reconnaissance survey should be undertaken. Such a survey must include
careful characterisation of the superficial deposits and local soils because the
surficial materials have the most direct bearing on the geomorphic processes
present, and in themselves, provide a historical record of sediment storage.
2.2.2 TECTONIC, SEISMIC AND VOLCANIC CONSIDERATIONS
Historic and recent large geological events have very significant impacts on
local relief, sediment supply and erosion rates. Every effort should be made to
establish the recent geological history of the study area because this often
provides the context for recent geomorphic activity e.g. high fluvial sediment
transport rates, large recent landslide events and extensive re-working of
stored sedimentary deposits. Records of earthquakes and volcanic events
should be obtained from documentary evidence or sought in local sediment
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archives. In cold environments, volcanic events are particularly significant due
to the thermal instabilities that they generate in the snowpack or ice cover,
which can lead to rapid snow/ice melt, jökulhlaup dynamics, etc. Similarly,
avalanche activity may be triggered by seismic and tectonic disturbance –
often incorporated with debris avalanches, examples of such interactions are
e.g. Huascaran, Yungay, Peru 1970 (Plafker & Eriksen, 1978).
2.2.3 RELIEF CHARACTERISATION
A fundamental part of any sediment budget study is the general
characterisation and quantitative description of the catchment topography and
relief, including vertical zonation of major cold climate processes (Figure 2.1).
This is most easily achieved using a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from
which various terrain parameters can be easily calculated. The resolution of
the DEM is in many ways critical to the objectives of many detailed sediment
transfer studies because it is used to define a baseline for assessing changes
in sediment storage or automatically define sediment transport pathways. It is
also a fundamental component of spatially distributed DEM-based models,
which consider sediment transport, soil loss and shallow landsliding. A basic
hypsometric curve of the catchments is a very useful tool particularly for
comparison of different catchments. Basic data on catchment relief should be
tabulated, including: maximum and minimum altitude, total relief, average
catchment slope, etc.
2.2.4 PERMAFROST GROUND ICE CONDITIONS
In addition to characterising the general variability in surface air temperatures,
the thermal state of the sub-surface is of fundamental importance for
geomorphological processes. Permafrost, defined as frozen ground over two
consecutive years, may stabilise sediment magazines (landforms), thereby
reducing their susceptibility to erosion, while thawing of ice-rich permafrost
may destabilise the same landforms. It is therefore important to address the
possible permafrost distribution in the catchment (permafrost existence),
model the active layer thickness and assess the thermal properties of the
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ground at selected sites (permafrost characteristics). In addition, knowledge of
the existence of excess ground ice is important (solid ice lenses, etc.). Out
side of permafrost areas active layer depths should be monitored in order to
assess the seasonal significance of ground freezing.
There exist a variety of broad-scale models of permafrost distribution over
many areas in the northern hemisphere, which give an indication about where
permafrost has to be expected in a catchment and where not. If the modelling
results suggest permafrost, several steps should be carried out additionally:
(1) simple surveys like the BTS (Bottom Temperature of winter Snow)
measurement should be carried out (see Brenning et al., 2005; Hoelzle et al.,
2001; Etzelmüller et al., 2001). (2) Surface and sub-surface temperatures in
different elevations and surface cover types should be continuously
measured, applying inexpensive miniature data loggers (resolution ± 0.25
degC), and (3) the active layer thickness should be measured at selected
sites, particularly addressing different surface sediment cover conditions.
These data sets, in combination with a DEM, open up the opportunity for the
application of a multitude of spatial modelling, addressing permafrost and
active layer distribution (see also Hoelzle et al., 2001; Heggem et al., 2006).
Direct monitoring, if possible, is always desirable because of the inherent
uncertainties in zonal permafrost prediction and the natural local variability in
the ground thermal regime, especially in mountain catchments.
2.2.5 VEGETATION AND SOILS
Spatial variability in vegetation and soil patterns are important in conditioning
geomorphic processes in many cold environments. With the advent satellite
images and aerial photographs, a normalized difference vegetation index
(NDVI) can be rapidly calculated using the spectral signatures from the
different Thematic Mapper bands (e.g. Thermal band). In the field, groundbased botanical investigations of plant colonization patterns should be
obtained using a sampling protocol designed to determinate heterogeneous
density of plant cover. Small 1 m2 quadrates collected along transects
following established spatial survey protocol, such as an unaligned systematic
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
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sampling scheme can be used (ITEX Manual). Such schemes are used to
record the most common plant species on the surface and use a local welldocumented flora. This is useful in distinguishing phanerogames, bryophytes
and lichens.
Plant
physiognomy
and
composition
often
reflects
geomorphological
dynamics, slope stability or instability, age of deposits, etc. For example:
stable moraines could be identified by Carex or Polygonum; pioneer species
(Salix) in the first time of deglaciation; wet lands or dry lands with hygrophilic
species (Cochlearia), mesophilic species (Saxifraga) and xerophilic species
(Arenaria).
In the field, basics soil properties should be described and granulometric
composition, pH, organic matter, organic carbon, total nitrogen should be
measured. The color of the soil can be determined from standard Munsell
color charts and photograph and descriptions of each soil profile should be
undertaken prioir to sampling. It is advisable to follow local soil survey
practices so that catchment field data can be placed in broader soil classes
determined from published soils maps. This can be important when using soil
classes to drive upland erosion models.
2.3 RECOGNITION OF STORAGE ELEMENTS
The identification of the main storage elements is a central task for the
sediment budget approach. Two main storage units are identified: (1) the
slope and (2) valley fills. Main slope features are related to accumulations
from gravitational processes such like rock glaciers, talus, debris cones,
solifluction lobes and solifluction sheets and alluvial fans. The valley fill and
related landforms like kames and eskers form another major storage unit, and
must be adequately charcaterised. Other landforms, superimposed over these
basic units, are landforms derived mainly from glacial processes, such as
moraines. In this context, landsystems models are particularly valuable in
defining
the
range
of
landforms
42
and
sedimentary
deposits
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
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consideration, in order to give a 3D representation of the sediment storage
inventory.
Figure 2.2. The alpine sediment cascade process system proposed by Caine (1974)
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
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The identification and mapping of these units is mainly achieved through air
photograph and satellite image interpretation, with subsequent ground truth
fieldwork. Most of the key landforms used in the sediment budget approach
are easily derived using these tools. If minor landforms, such as certain
smaller scale glacial or periglacial forms are of importance (e.g. definition of
fluvial terrace forms), field investigations with GPS or electronic theodolite are
necessary, for measurement of location and elevation variation.
Figure 2.3. Principles of volume calculation of storage elements (after Schrott et al., 2003)
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2.4 QUANTIFICATION OF STORAGE ELEMENTS
2.4.1 DEFINITION OF STORAGE VOLUMES
The storage volume of a landform is a critical measure for addressing timedependant sediment budget dynamics. A major aim for a sediment budget
model is to quantify the volume of the major storage elements, or at least a
representative sub set of the landforms, present in a partcular catchment. The
topographic variability of the landforms can be represented in a digital
elevation model, depending on its resolution. To define landform volume, we
have to determine the lower limit of the landforms. There are two main
approaches (Figure 2.4, Schrott et al., 2003).
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Analysis of Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing
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Figure 2.4. Estimation of slope cover and valley fills. F(x) denotes the surface function obtained from a
DEM. G(x) has to be defined, e.g. through trend surface analysis, thessalation or other deterministic
interpolation methods. U-shaped valleys are successfully estimated through higher-order polynomial
surfaces, while v-shaped valley bottoms demands linear interpolators. Based on Hoffmann & Schrott
(2003)
1.
We can interpolate sub-storage element topography by interpolating a
trend surface based on points sampled outside the landform (Figure 2.4). The
trend surface is then subtracted from the original digital elevation model. What
type of trend surface is chosen depends on the landform. Schrott et al. (2003)
and Hoffmann & Schrott (2002) illustrate these different approaches. Valley
fills might be quantified by a third- or forth-order polynomial, while back walls
covered by talus forms might be interpolated using linear trend surfaces.
2.
Sediment thickness can be obtained using geophysical soundings,
using seismics, GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) and DC electrical
tomography. These tools are expensive and require specialist knowledge for
application, but should be applied at least at some locations to validate
calculated sub-landform topography.
Hoffmann & Schrott (2002) clearly demostrate that there might be large
discrepancies for the polynomic-derived surface and geophysical soundings,
especially for valley fill analysis. For each landform analysed, the realism of
the calculated surface has to be assessed, either by field observations
(bedrock outcrops, etc.) or some selected geophysical investigations. In both
cases, the interpolated sub-landform topography is subtracted from the DEM
on a cell-by-cell basis, resulting in total volume in m3 or km3, depending of the
landform size. This value should be converted into metric tons in order to
allow the assessment of specific erosion rates lateron.
2.4.2 CLASSIFICATION OF STORAGES
For estimation of specific erosion rates and metric weights of storage
elements, sub-surface characteristics of these landforms have to be
evaluated. Basic measurements of bulk density of the local bedrock and
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surficial deposits are fundamental in the accurate determination of sediment
mass. First order approximations may be derived from the literature but for
detailed sediment budgets field sampling schemes must be undertaken. The
design of such a scheme should take into account the major storage elements
within a particular catchment and sampling should be stratified within this. All
bulk density values should be accompanied by an error margin, which can be
used in sediment budget caculations. Sediment packing and porosity can be
derived from thses basic measurements especially when grain-size analysis is
carried out on the same suite of sediments. Many coarse deposits require
large sample sizes and can only be adequately measured using a combined
field and laboratory approach. For slope deposits, fabric should also be
measured in the field (distinguish openwork texture, partially openwork, clastsupported
texture,
matrix-supported
texture).
Material
arrangement
(orientation, plunge of the longest particle axis), debris shape (length, width,
thickness), and sorting of deposit (graded bedding, lateral sorting) should be
measured as well, using 1-m2 quadrats, along transects to measure fabric and
particle morphology. Such measurements are useful in correctly assigning
particular sedimenatary units to specific geomorphic processes, e.g. in fan
stratigraphy debris flow deposits and slope wash units are often distinguished
using such measurements.
2.4.3 DATING OF STORAGES (CHRONOLOGY OF STORAGE)
In sediment budget studies the minimum requirement is the application of
relative dating methods to identify the chronology of sedimentation rather than
absolute age. However, advanced dating methods are desirable particularly
when quantifying rates of change and trying to correlate between different
sediment systems. In addition, geoecology can provide important information
about relative-age of geomorphologic features (see Matthews, 1992),
however, this is not considered in detail here. The overall aim is to determine
ages and chronology of the key sediment storage components. In this section
we briefly outline the main methods that should be considered in cold climate
catchment sediment budget studies.
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2.4.3.1 Relative age dating
A full range of relative-age dating methods should be considered within a
small catchment area. The most appropriate ones should be used in
combination to assess areal chronologies at the highest resolution time scale
possible. Such dating tools should be calibrated, i.e. objects of a known age
must be used to calibrate time-curves of the dating methods used. For
example, lichenometry can offer numerical ages of a morainic deposit with a
good accuracy when lichen growth is calibrated on tombstones, farms walls,
etc. in the surrounding area of the research site. Relative-age dating methods
include biological dating (use of lichen thallus, Silene acaulis cushions or tree
trunks (dendrochronology)), physical and chemical dating (use of rock
weathering characteristics: oxidation rind, hydration rind on obsidian, soil
maturity, rock surface strength (Schmidt hammer)) or sedimentological dating
(tephrochronology, fine particle translocation, varve chronology).
Lichenometry.
Measurements
of
Rhizocarpon
geographicum
thallus
diameter provide a relative-age estimate based on the assumption that the
longer a fresh rock surface is exposed to the atmosphere the larger the lichen
thallus will grow. Field sampling, statistical data analyses are well documented
in an abundant bibliography. Even if individuals might live for many millennia,
it must be born in mind that the stability of the rock surface under the lichen
cover is expected to be unstable over a shorter timescale as a consequence
of biological weathering. Therefore, lichenometry should be restricted to the
last 500 years.
Silenometry. This is based on the same principal as lichenometry but here
Silene acaulis cushion diameters are measured. Limitations are greater than
lichenometry due to a strong environmental susceptibility of this phanerogam.
However, good results can be expected over a shorter time scale dating (i.e.
10-50 years).
Dendrochronology. The longest chronology currently available is the
Hohenheim oak chronology which contains an annual record back to 10`480
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BP, but a pine chronology which overlaps the oak chronology might extends
the total annual record back to 12000 BP. Study of tree ring morphology
(asymmetry, reaction wood, thickness variability) also gives an indication of
possible perturbing environmental events (glacier advance, earthquakes,
storms, tsunamis).
Corticometry. Weathering rinds developing at the surface of rock surfaces or
boulders are more or less time-dependent. Oxidation rinds are strongly related
to time. Thickness of the weathering rind is usually a good indicator of the age
of the surface but, paradoxically, the integrity of the alteration halo becomes
very sensitive to weathering processes. Under these conditions, two sampling
strategies must be adopted depending on the dating goal: surface sampling is
convenient with short-time exposure (e.g. 30-150 years for basaltic moraines
in Iceland, i.e. post-LIA dating), whereas larger time exposure surfaces (i.e.
thousand years or post-Weichselian dating) require subsurface sampling
(usually in the Bt horizon of soils).
Obsidian hydration. Adsorbed water diffusion in obsidian fragment creates a
weathering rind with particular optical properties. Rate of diffusion can be
calibrated using industrial obsidian. Sampling should be done at a minimum
depth of 1 m depth to reduce daily thermal fluctuation interferences on the
diffusion rate.
Soil chronology (chronosequences). A sequence of soils developed on
similar parent materials and relief under the influence of quasi-constant
climate and biotic factors will show differences that can thus be ascribed to
lapse of time since the initiation of soil formation (Matthews, 1992). The Profile
Development Index (Harden, 1982) helps to combine qualitative (texture,
color, etc.) and quantitative (pH, organic matter content, etc.) properties of soil
to obtain useful relative age dating.
Schmidt hammer. This concrete-testing tool has been transferred into the
geomorphological dating research field by McCarroll. It measures the rebound
(r-value) of a steel hammer from the rock surface, the rebound being
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proportional to the compressive strength of the rock surface. Fresh surfaces
have high rebound values whereas weathered surfaces have low r-value.
Degree of weathering increases with time and the r-value consequently
diminishes.
Comparison
of
surfaces
of
different
ages
should
give
discriminating r-values but operating procedures are difficult and can greatly
affect the measurements.
Tephrochronology. Tephra are pyroclastic elements ejected into the
atmosphere during volcanic eruptions. Large pyroclasts (blocks, bombs) fall
around the emitting volcano but fine ash can travel all around the globe before
falling down and being trapped into continental sinks. Each volcano has a
unique geochemical and exoscopical signature, which allows the identification
of the origin of volcanic fallout. Knowing the volcanic history of an area, it is
then possible to date the tephra layer in a sequence (future advances in
tephrochronology will come from direct dating of tephra by
40
Ar/39Ar). A
sedimentary sequence embedded into two dated tephra layers can be
converted into rates of accumulation. Icelandic tephras (e.g. Vedde Ash,
12`000 BP) are widespread in continental Europe sinks (lakes, peatlands,
river terraces, moraines).
Fine particle translocation. This is a micromorphological method based on
soil characteristics, which provides good relative age estimates. Silt transfer is
the quickest process of transformation of soil matrix in high latitudes areas.
Under optical microscopy, soil thin-sections reveal translocation of fine
particles and changes can be linked to an approximate timescale.
Varve chronology. Varves are lacustrine sediment couplets consisting of
relatively coarse-grained layer alternating with a relatively fine-grained layer or
organic laminae alternating with inorganic laminae. A couplet is deposited
annually and provides the basis for absolute dating by counting varve
sequences (Lamoureux, 2001). Calendar timescale can be achieved when
varved deposits include organic materials for which radiometric is possible.
This has been used to good effect in alpine and glacierised mountain
catchments (Tomkins & Lamoureux, 2005), as well as boreal and tundra
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settings (Zolitschka, 1996; Lamoureux, 2000).
2.4.3.2 Absolute age dating
Absolute dating can be achieved using documentary records (aerial
photographs, historical tourist pictures and written evidence) but such sources
are usually scarce in cold regions. Alternative absolute dating methods
include the range of radiometric dating techniques including: radiocarbon,
long-lived and short-lives radioactive isotopes and radiation exposure dating.
Radiocarbon dating is based upon the decay of radioactive
14
C isotope
stored by living organisms (plant, animal). After the death of the organism,
storage of
of
14
14
C ceases, then replenishment cannot take place and the amount
C decreases steadily (by convention half-life of
limit of measurement of
14
14
C is 5570 years). The
C activity is eight half-lives, so radiocarbon dating is
limited to the last 45`000 years. Any object with carbon in it can be dated,
according to the age range of the method. In cold environments radiocarbon
dating provides good dating where organic material is present.
Lead-210 and Caesium-137 are two short-lived isotopes commonly used in
geosciences for dating purposes.
210
Pb has been widely used to estimate
sediment accumulation within lakes. This isotope is part of the atmospheric
uranium-series decay chain leading from radon (222Rn) to lead (210Pb). 210Pb is
removed from the atmosphere by precipitation and accumulates in the
sediments where it decays to a stable isotope 206Pb (half-life is 22.3 years). By
measuring the ratio between
210
Pb and
206
Pb in a lake-sediment sequence,
the time of deposition can be determined, and subsequently, the rate of
accumulation of the sediments. The time span for using
210
Pb is restricted to
approximately 150 years, so it can easily be used for post-Little Ice Age dating
in High Arctic catchments (e.g., Lamoureux, 2000). Attention should be given
to the nature of the lake sediments: if minerals containing small amounts of
uranium are present, they will supply
210
Pb, and then measurements should
be corrected. Caesium-137 (half-life 30 years) has been actively released in
the upper atmosphere after World War Two and the campaign of
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thermonuclear weapon testing programmes and been deposited worldwide as
fallout. A peak of
137
Cs “production” is 1963, which is clearly recorded in lake
sediments and constitutes a good marker horizon. It is assumed that
137
Cs
deposition within fine particles at the ground surfaces is uniform (although
regional incident like 1986 Chernobyl accident might modify locally the input),
so any deviation in the measured distribution from the local fallout inventory
represents the net impact of sediment redistribution (upslope soil erosion and
downstream sedimentation) during the period since 137Cs deposition.
2.4.4 ASSESSING THE STABILITY OF STORAGE ELEMENTS
The main aim is to give an estimate of landform stability in terms of their likely
contribution to sediment transfer. This could include geotechnical, thermal and
erosional stability. Also are there stores in active, semi-active or inactive
zones in the catchment. The stability of storage elements can be defined in
terms of active sediment stores - frequently reworked by contemporary
geomorphic activity, semi active stores – only activated during extreme
events, and inactive stores – sediment which is stored in the landscape from
processes and events that no longer occur. A convenient way of assessing
this is to produce a matrix listing the potential processes leading to storage
instability (sediment transfer) and the sediment storage zones activated by
such processes (Warburton, 2006; Figure 2.5)
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Figure 2.5: Relationship between mountain sedimentation zones and potential
sediment transfer processes in steepland environments (Warburton, 2006)
2.5 INTEGRATING THE APPROACH INTO A GIS
The key to integrating catchment characteristics and sediment storage data
into a Geographical Information System is defining the scope and resolution of
the system prior to primary data collection. It is far easier to establish a clear
spatial references system prior to data collection than trying to incorporate
disparate data sets collected in different coordinate systems at a later date!
The other key factor is the quality of available background data (e.g. DEM
resolution) and access to suitable data acquisition systems (e.g. LIDAR,
terrestrial laser scanning, differential GPS) because this will determine the
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precision and quality of the data collected. It is recommended that prior to any
sediment budget study the following procedure is followed:
1) Assess the availability of spatial data and whether this data can be
obtained in a digital data format.
2) Obtain relevant data coverage, which as a minimum should include:
DEM-topography (at a scale relevant to the overall catchment and
objectives of the study), and drainage. Geology, soils and vegetation
should be included.
3) Determine position of benchmarks and ground control within the study
area.
4) For small catchments sediment budget studies, a 1-10 m DEM with
geo-referenced colour air photographs provides usually a feasible
starting framework. A 25 m model is the coarsest acceptable for
catchment sizes up to around 30 km2.
2.6 CONCLUSIONS
The catchment is the fundamental unit of study in meso-scale sediment
budget studies. Defining the characteristics of such units require a quantitative
description of the overall geometry (topography) of the unit, its constituitive
materials (bedrock, superficial geology, soil and surface cover), the condition
of those sedimentary units (physical, chemical and thermal character) and the
age of these basic building blocks. The methods outlined here should be
considered when trying to define these properties in a cold climate sediment
budget study. The exact nature of the approach adopted will depend on the
nature of the catchment, the objective of the sediment budget approach and
the resources available to carry out the study. As a first approximation, most
properties can be determined from documentary evidence and remotely
sensed data. However, for detailed sediment budget work systematic field
survey and sampling is required.
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Table 2.1. General recommendations
Chapter
Small catchment
Large catchment
2.1. Geological and geographical setting (boundary conditions)
2.1.1. – Bedrock geology
2.1.2. – Tectonic, seismic and
volcanic considerations
2.1.3. – Surficial material
2.1.4. – Relief characterisation
2.1.5. – Permafrost and ground ice
conditions
Geological map, 1:50000 if available
Literature review of the area, with emphasize on tectonical setting, volcanic activity (time of
eruptions etc), modern land heave/isostasy. For glacierized catchments large events like
jokulhaups should be investigated.
Identification of major genetic components of surficial material and major grain size
composition. Delineated into:
Glacial, fluvial, glacio-fluvial, Aeolian, in-situ weathered material (block fields etc), bare rock
(no sediment cover), organic (mire), gravimetric (slopes).
Thickness of material should be given where available. If maps better than 1:50000 are
available, they should be used, and otherwise air photo interpretation and field ground truth.
Landforms in sediments must be mapped (talus, glacial landforms, terraces, rock glaciers etc) as
sediment magazines.
DEM, 25-50 m ground resolution. For catchments below 5 km2, refine with tachymetry or
DGPS (Ground resolution < 10 m). From the DEM calculate terrain parameter like slope,
aspect, curvature, wetness index, potential short-wave radiation, river network and sub-basin
borders within a GIS. Major structural landform must be described (arête, cliffs, valley form)
If available: high-resolution DEM using digital photogrammetry based on air photos (< 5 m) or
satellite images (radar, ASTER) or LIDAR
a. Bottom temperature of winter snow cover (BTS) – along elevation profiles in different
aspect, 2-3 measurements per point, GPS localisation, average for each location, snow cover
>0.8 m. At least 100 points within a catchment. Measurements before spring melting (late Feb.
to early March)
b. Monitoring of ground surface temperatures and air temperatures (1 m in air) in selected sites
(4 hour interval) (differences in elevation, land cover and aspect) (accuracy ±0.25 ºC). At least
five loggers in different positions representing elevation range and aspect dependency.
Evaluation of surface offset values.
c. Map of permafrost existence (statistical methods, correlation matrix between BTS, snow
55
Geological map, 1:250000
Geological map, 1:250000
Maps of seismic activities (e.g.
Maps of Quaternary surface cover,
1:50000-1:250000
DEM, 50 m. 90 m DEM available
for 60 N/S (SRMT-data).
Results from BTS can normally be
up-scaled to a total catchment
level.
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thickness and topographic parameter, multiple logistic regression)
d. One to two shallow boreholes with temperature measurements (at least two different
elevations, min. 4 m depth, Temperatures measured at least 4 times a year (each season) in 0,
0.2, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4 m depth. (accuracy ±0.1 ºC). Evaluation of thermal offset.
e. Active layer (AL) monitoring (digging and probing). Works well in organic material, often
difficult without bore hole as AL can be very thick under permafrost degradation.
f. Ground ice in alpine catchments is normally related to rock glaciers, ice-cored moraines and
palsa. Rough estimates for these landforms are 40-80% ground ice content. Evaluate in natural
sections if available.
If available: Combined DC resistivity tomography over boreholes and at selected sites. Deeper
boreholes with continuous ground temperature measurements.
2.1.6. – Vegetation
Vegetation is important both in terms of vegetations coverage of the ground and major type of
vegetation. Distinguish into recognised vegetation classes used in regiobal vegetation surveys
or classifications used in airborne remote sensing surveys
Use either maps in scale 1:50000 or better. Alternatively use aerial photographs. Calculate
NDVI as proxy for biomass based on available satellite image (ASTER, SPOT, LANDSAT)
2.1.7. – Human impact
Mapping of a) infrastructure, b) river dams, c) agriculture/pasture use of the area
Instrumentation scheme included in chapter 4
DEM-based mapping: river network
Topographic map/pictures: lake coverage (m2), Glacier coverage (m2), perennial snow patches
2.1.9. – Hydrography
(m2), classification of main river types .
Field mapping: springs, and local drainage features
2.2. – Recognition of storage elements
Mapping of talus, scree, fans, rock glaciers, slope cover, blockfields, landslide deposits, Aeolian
2.2.1. – Slopes
deposits. (See table 5 for pictures for many of these elements)
Identify point bars, flood plains, lake deltas, how the riverbed is connected to the hillslope
2.2.2. – Fluvial channels
(good, poor). Carry out fluvial geomorphology river reconnaissance survey.
2.3. Quantification of storage element
Vegetation associations (forest
????) should be estimated. Use
existing maps or classification of
available satellite images (Landsat
7). Calculate NDVI as proxy for
biomass based on available
satellite image (ASTER, SPOT,
LANDSAT)
Land-use survey data
2.1.8. – Climate conditions
2.3.1. – Storage volumes
DEM-based analyses are required. DEM resolution 5 m or better.
56
River network from DEM, glacier
and lakes from topographic maps
pr satellite images.
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2.3.2. – Classification of storage
elements
2.3.3. – Dating of storage elements
2.3.4. – Stability of storage elements
Simple approach (minimum): 1. Define points (x, y, z co-ordinates) outsite the landform along
the slope and evt plain. 2. Adopt a second order polynom plane thorugh these points (ArcGIS,
Surfer etc). 3. Calculate the mean difference between surface of landform and the plane and
multiply with the landform area (m3).
Advanced approach (which not necessarily give better results) : 1) Define thickness of landform
using geophysical soundings (GPR, Geoelectrics, seismics)
2). Define the sub-landform topography based on thee results
3) Calculate the difference between this plane and the surface
1) Morphometric characteristics of the landform based on DEM (mean elevation - m, elevation
range - m, area – m2 , mean slope (º), max llength (m), max width (m)
2) Sedimentological description based on cross section investigation (if available):
(grain size – coarse/fine or amount of pebbles, sand, silt/clay). Grain shape (counting), Genetic
type. Use standard sedimentological techniques and collect bulk properties in particular bulk
density and packing densities of sediments in the main storage elements.
If available: GPR to identify internal stratigraohy etc.
Required: Relative dating methods
- Lichenometry
- Schmidt Hammer
- Aerial photo sequences/photo archives (if available)
- Look for soil chronologies
Advanced: Exposure dating, OSL, 14C, 137Cs, 210Pb
Stability is addressed by observations in field and from air photo. Look especially for
disturbance of vegetations cover and fluvial erosion of landforms. (see Table 3)
57
Classify genetic type based on
satellite image or air photos,
existing maps
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Table 2.2. Bedrock type classification in the investigated catchment
Major bedrock
component
Susceptibility for gravitational processes
Competent welljointed lithologies
(inter-mediate)
Non-competent
lithologies (high)
Susceptibility for frost processes
Competent massive
lithologies (low)
Massive (low
porosity), low joint
density (low)
Massive (low
porosity), well-jointed
Weak, high porosity,
jointed (high)
SEDIMENTARY
Shale
X
X
Mudstones
X
X
Sandstones
X
X
Breccia conglomerate
Limestone
Evaporite
IGNEOUS
Intrusive
(gabbro,
diorite, granite)
Extrusive
(basalt,
andesite, rhyolite)
METAMORPHIC
Slate
Schist
Gneiss
Quartzite / marble
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Table 2.3. Stability consideration of sediment storage elements
Geomorphic activity /
stability
Inactive – stable
Semi-active
stability
–
Active – unstable
intermediate
Key Characteristics
Typical age and frequency
of reworking
No disturbance of vegetation or lateral erosion
soil development with infilling of sedimentary
framework
May contain well developed mature vegetation
Local disturbances, minor erosion scars
Vegetation and signs of soil profile development
(pioneer species still present)
Mosaic of partially vegetated and bare areas
No vegetation cover, fresh stones, little lichen cover,
heavy lateral erosion. Steep non-vegetated cliffs.
100 – 1000 years
Partial reworking only during
extreme events (1:100 year)
High-level valley terraces
Vegetated debris cones
Moraines
10 -100 years
Reworked and reactivated during
moderate events (1:10 to 50
years)
Recent
deposits
regularly
reworked by contemporary
geomorphic processes
Talus and debris cones
Alluvial fans
Fluvial islands
59
Example landforms
Stream channel bars
Active rockfall talus
Avalanche debris tracks
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Table 2.4: Dating techniques and time-scale application
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Chapter 3 –
Measurement of present-day sediment fluxes
3.0 INTRODUCTION
The aim of this Chapter 3 is to provide an overview over recommended
methods and techniques for the quantitative investigation and the long-term
monitoring of present-day sediment fluxes in cold environment small
catchment (less than 30 km2 catchment area) geosystems.
Consideration is given to weather stations for monitoring of meteorological
parameters (section 3.1), to fluvial sediment transport (section 3.2), including
suspended load (section 3.2.1), bedload transport (section 3.2.2) and
dissolved load (section 3.2.3), to slope wash (section 3.3), solifluction (section
3.4), aeolian processes (section 3.5), and to mass movement processes
(section 3.6) including debris flows (section 3.6.1), snow avalanches (section
3.6.2), rockfalls (section 3.6.3). Additional comments are made on extreme
events (section 3.7) and on magnitude and frequency as well as on
magnitude-frequency-relationships within process geomorphologic studies
(section 3.8).
3.1 WEATHER STATIONS
For all SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD field sites standardised equipment and recording
methods are needed with the aim to establish fundamental measurements
and data acquisition to characterize the SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD sites.
Selection of sites for weather stations
The climate stations should be located in open terrain where the
measurements are representative for the SEDIFLUX /SEDIBUD key test site.
The position of the climate stations should be within an area of uniform
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surroundings, and with an adequate distance to obstacles. No hidden, highly
wind exposed or high topographic relief locations should be chosen.
Level 1 weather stations
(Levels defined after Molau & Mølgaard, 1996)
Meteorological measurements with a Level 1 climate station may choose any
field site for a temporary installation in the initial phase. A Level 1 climate
station is entirely manual, and the following parameters are to be measured
inside a shelter cage (Stevenson Screen):
1. Air temperature thermometer installed horizontally in the cage
a) Spirit minimum thermometer: 2 m above ground; accuracy 0.1
°C
b) Mercury maximum thermometer: 2 m above ground; the bulb
end tillted somewhat downwards; accuracy 0.1 °C
c) Precipitation: 1m above ground, 2 m above ground in mountain
regions; accuracy 0.5 mm; daily reported; note type of
precipitation
2. Thermohygrograph THG and psychrometer for calibration THG
Instrumentation of Level 2 weather stations
(Levels defined after Molau & Mølgaard, 1996)
All SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD field sites should establish Level 2 measurements of
climatic parameters, if possible on a continuous annual basis. The following
parameters are to be measured:
1. Air temperature: sun protected at 2 m above ground
2. Precipitation: 1m above ground, 2 m up to 4 m above ground in
mountain regions; depending on the system used
3. Wind velocity: 2 m above ground
4. Global solar radiation: 2 m above ground
5. Relative humidity
These Level 2 climate stations can be entirely automatic, and require a data
logger configurated to store hourly means, and daily maximum and minimum
values for all parameters. Entirely automatic climate stations will need a
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heating system or an anti-freezing compound (depending on the system used)
for the precipitation bucket recorder. During summer the precipitation gauge
should be filled with an oil-layer to minimize the evaporation loss (only by
precipitation measurements with a scale system). The precipitation gauge
should be protected from the influence of wind eddies by a shield.
3.2 FLUVIAL SEDIMENT TRANSPORT
3.2.1 SUSPENDED LOAD
In mountain environments and in many arctic and polar basins suspended
load is the main constituent of sediment export. Unlike dissolved sediment
concentration the concentration of suspended sediment is characterised by a
high spatial (cross-sectional) and temporal variability. A common way to
calculate annual suspended sediment load and the load of individual flow
classes is by using flow duration curves and rating curves for the relation
between suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and discharge. Campbell
and Bauder (1940) developed a simple but reliable and often used method for
calculating suspended sediment transport, the so-called rating curve
technique, which allows the extrapolation of field measurements with the help
of regression equations. It has the general form of a power function
regression relating suspended sediment concentration (SSC: mgl-1) to
discharge (Q: m3s-1): SSC=aQb. The results must be multiplied with discharge
(Q) to get the values for sediment load (SSL: kgs-1). In small polar or
mountainous
catchments,
however,
the
general
correlation
between
suspended sediment concentration and discharge is generally poor. Peak
concentrations frequently occur prior to peak discharge and concentrations on
the falling limb of the hydrograph are often smaller than on the rising limb,
which results in hysteresis loops in the discharge/concentration graph
(Schmidt, 1996). Sometimes it is necessary to calculate polynomial rating
curves or separate rating curves for individual discharge classes, for the
different limbs of the hydrographs or for different types of events or even
event specific rating curves (Schmidt & Morche, 2006). Nonetheless the
scatter in the relations is frequently considerable and estimates are often
liable to large errors. The variable delivery of sediment sources in the
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catchment is generally much more important than the hydraulic attributes of
channel flow.
The difficulties of obtaining reliable time series of suspended sediment
concentration can be overcome by frequent sampling and interpolation
calculations for the time between the sampling intervals. Turbidity
measurement is an often used indirect method for continuous monitoring of
the concentration of suspended solids. Yet the turbidity signal is influenced
not only by sediment concentration, but also by its grain size distribution,
colour and content of organic material, which may be a major constituent in
arctic regions. The relation between the turbidity units and SSC must be
calibrated for each individual measuring station. Very little information exists
on the spatial variation of SSC in the cross section. There is a striking
dicrepancy between the number of theoretical and laboratory models and
empirical field measurements. Multi-point sampling in mountain torrents has
shown that even in highly turbulent flow there are remarkable differences in
the cross profiles (Schmidt, 1996).
A greater number of studies on sediment load calculations have been carried
out in high-altitude environments (e.g. Schmidt & Morche, 2006) than in highlatitude locations, where the use of monitoring equipment and the accessibility
is much more restricted (Beylich & Gintz, 2004; Beylich et al., 2006; Gintz &
Schmidt, 2000). Measuring methods ranged from integrated sampling to
multiple point samples and on-line turbidity registration. Only major floods
transported remarkable amounts of suspended sediment. In Russia about 75
% of the total annual sediment load were transported in a few days during
snowmelt runoff or during rare rainfall induced floods and in events when
sources of material were made available by thermokarst induced bank
collapse. In the course of flood events significant temporal and spatial
variations of suspended sediment concentration and grain size composition
were observed.
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3.2.2 BEDLOAD TRANSPORT
The SEDIFLUX / SEDIBUD test sites cover a wide range of high-latitude and
high-altitude cold environments. The amount of bed load to be expected at
these sites is highly variable. To aggravate the situation bed load transport is
the most complex fluvial-sediment transport process with respect both to
measurement and quantification. This complexity is due to a combination of
factors, which are related to (i) the spatial and temporal variability of the bed
load transport process, (ii) the morphometric and hydraulic conditions of the
site, (iii) the grain size and shape characteristics of the bed load and the bed
surface particles. Additionally, limitations occur in the sampling techniques
and the personal resources available to collect accurate bed load data sets.
Several field techniques are used to qualify and quantify the bed load
transport rates with different success. They can be categorized into direct
(Tab. 3.1) and indirect methods for measuring bed load (Tab. 3.2). Of these,
none can clearly be preferred. In some cases a combination of different
measuring approaches will lead to satisfactory results.
Prior to the bed load measuring itself the following fieldwork should be carried
out:
i) The first step is to identify a representative part for the measuring site (cross
profile). For example, a bridge will usually provide a good location to install
the measuring equipment.
ii) The second step is geomorphic mapping (terrestrial or by air photography)
and additional geodetic surveys of the bed morphology with respect to rifflepool, step-pool sequences, bedrock outcrops large woody debris and channel
gradient (Chin & Wohl, 2005; Lenzi, 2001; Morche et al., 2007; Morche et al.,
submitted).
iii) Detailed grain size analyses of the surface (by pebble count/grid by
number) and subsurface material (by volume, by weight) should be carried out
according to the guidelines of Bunte & Abt (2001) to get information on grain
roughness and the grain size distribution. Grain size distribution is necessary
for calculationg the sorting and to decide the relation between bed material
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size and the “Helley Smith” sampler intake width (trap efficiency obviously
goes to zero when the particle size is the same as the samplers intake). It
appears that the sampler intake opening has to remain greater than 5 times
the diameter (conservatively of the a-axis) of the largest particle apt to move
in the stream (Vericat et al., 2006).
Table 3.1. Methods of direct bed load measurement
Sampling Device
Advantages and disadvantages
Useful for
Provide representative
measurements of instantaneous
Permanent sediment traps,
non recording ore
continuously recording
traps by weight (Bunte,
1996) ore ultrasonic
sensors (Lenzi et al., 1999)
transport rates of bed load,
- Permanent measuring
expensive to construct, difficult to
sites with moderate
install and maintain. (Bunte, 2001);
transport rates
The bed load has to be removed,
- U-shaped concrete
sieved and weighed after the
canals as measuring site
chosen interval, depending on the
to weigh the passage of
capacity of the trap, and of the
bed load
research question (e.g., event or
seasonal data)
Can be installed in a streambed by
- Measuring sites with
Small non-recording
a small field crew.
moderate transport rates
portable pit trap samplers
Provides accurate samples of
and “low” water level. A
(Bunte et al., 2004)
coarse bed load and can be related person should operate in
to flow (Bunte et al., 2004).
the stream.
Pressure-differential
bedload samplers, e.g.
Helley-Smith-Type
Sampler with a defined
opening area and mesh
size (Bunte & Abt, 2001;
Helley & Smith, 1971;
Ryan & Porth, 1999, Ryan
Inherent instrumental and process
errors (Emmett, 1980),
sampler has to be calibrated to
determine their hydraulic and
sampling efficiencies under a range
of operating conditions.
& Troendle, 1996; Vericat
et al., 2006)
66
- Wadable measuring
sites or cross sections
with a kind of bridge and
moderate transport
rates.
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Table 3.2. Methods of indirect bed load measurement
Sampling Device
Advantages and disadvantages
Useful for
a) Hydrophones (Krein et
a), b) Highly resolved transport
- Budgeting sediment
al., 2006; Rickenmann,
rates can be determined.
transfer (over different
1993)
The difficulties in calibration of the
time scales) (a)
b) Shock sensors (Vatne et given signals and the high cost
- Detecting the passage
al., subm.)
of bed load (a, b)
factor are shortcomings of these
c) scour chains (Laronne et interesting techniques.
- Determining the
al., 1994; Leopold et al.,
entrainment of particles
1964),
(a, b)
d) Cut and fill analysis of
- Indicating transport
DEMs from geodetic or
rates of fine grained bed
laserscanning surveys
load during high
(Fuller et al., 2003; Morche
discharge (a, b)
et al., 2007)
Tracer techniques
The quality of tracer studies is
- Examining the active
Natural tracers
directly linked to the recovery rate
river bed cross section at
Tracing with color,
of the traced particles (Wilcock,
several stages in small
numbers, magnetic or
1997)
rivers and tributaries as
radioactive coating (see
well as in braided rivers.
Bunte, 1996)
- Determining the
Natural and artificial
entrainment of transport
particles with iron or
- Detecting the travel
magnetic cores (Gintz et
lengths of coarse
al., 1996, Schmidt & Gintz,
particles,
1995)
- Investigating the depth
Active radiotracer (Schmidt
of scour layer, the
& Ergenzinger, 1992)
transport, rest times and
step length of active
tracers
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For the SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD catchments in a range of 10 - 30 km² we prefer
a combination of different methods in addition to the preparatory steps (see
above): i) selection of cross profile, ii) riverbed morphology and iii) grain size
analyses.
In addition to the direct or indirect methods of measuring bed load transport, it
is possible to calculate rates of transport by using so-called bed load
formulae. Their application might be successful but remains insecure. For
detailed reviews of bed load formulaes see Gomez & Church (1989) and
Martin (2003). In a paper proposing practical methods for estimating sediment
transport Wilcock (2001, p. 1395) stated that formulae are “notoriously
inaccurate”. This especially applies to coarse material torrents.
3.2.3 DISSOLVED LOAD
Runoff from glaciers as well as polar streams and rivers provides the principal
routes of export of matter in the form of solutions and solids from glaciated
and non-glaciated catchments. The load leaving a catchment is calculated
from measurements of discharge, concentrations of solutes and suspended
matter, and the rate of bedload transport (see above).
Fluvial transport can be studied by different approaches:
• At a site,
• In a profile, cross-section, or transect,
• In taxonomic units of various hierarchical orders, e.g. valleys,
slopes, erosional gullies,
• In a river catchment, and
• In a catchment's buffer zone.
Discharge measurement and monitoring: Discharge is indispensable
variable for calculating a sediment balance. The best solution is to install a
permanent weir with a recording instrument to monitor the water stage on a
continuous basis. The water stage is measured in carefully selected crosssections of the river channel, so-called water-gauging sections. At these
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gauging stations water level is recorded with the help of recording instruments
(recording gauges / water level recorder / electronic sensors), or by an
observer's reading a staff gauge. Recording gauges produce an analogue
record of the results of measurements on a paper tape, while water level
recorder and sensors collect the digital data in a memory block called data
logger.
The fluctuation pattern of water stages in a river varies diurnally and
seasonally, and the type of alimentation that moulds it is surface and
subterranean ablation. If there is no electronic recording, the number and time
of measurements taken per day are adjusted to the current hydrological
situation:
• Four times a day at 0:00, 6:00, 12:00 and 18:00 GMT,
• Twice a day at 6:00 and 18:00 GMT, and
• Once a day at 6:00 GMT.
If possible, the mean daily discharge should be calculated from the
stage/discharge relationship for the given hydrometric profile. At rainfallinduced high stages and in glacier catchments responding quickly to changes
in ablation measurements must be taken more frequently, even at hourly or
shorter intervals.
The site of water sampling for analyses of physico-chemical properties
should be located near the weir / hydrometric profile. In the absence of a weir,
water is sampled in the current of the stream, at mid-depth, with the help of a
bathometer. In shallow streams where the use of a bathometry is
impracticable, a sample should be taken in such a way as to minimise the risk
of its contamination. The samples should be preserved immediately. It is also
recommended that they should be filtered as soon as possible through
membrane filters with a pore diameter of 0.40-0.45 µm (e.g. Whatman 42 or
GFC) washed with de-ionised water.
The time of transport and storage should be reduced to a minimum. In
the case of some 'sensitive' determinations, e.g. alkalinity, the maximum
period between sampling and lab analyses should not exceed 24 hours. To
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avoid chemical changes resulting from microbial activity and impurities, the
bottles with samples should be transported in sunlight-blocking plastic bags
and, if possible, in isothermal containers. Until the start of analyses, the
bottles should be stored in the dark at 4ºC.
Table 3.3. Measurement parameters of fluvial transport
recommended field and analytical methods
Accuracy
Frequency of
Basic method
Parameter Unit (Decimal
measurement
places)
Field methods
1/day (dt-24h)
Hellmann rain
Precipitation
Mm
0 or 1
Continuous
gauge
recording
Continuous
Recording rain
Intensity of
mm
1
recording
-1
gauge
precipitation
h
(IV/V - IX/X)
Thickness of
Cm
0 or 1
1/day (dt-24h) Probe
snow cover
Water
Gravimetric
content in
%
1
1/day (dt-24h)
method
snow (snow
density)
1/day (dt-24h)
Groundwater cm
Piezometer
0 or 1
Continuous
stage
p.p.t.
recording
1/day (dt-24h)
Staff gauge with
2/day (dt=12h)
analogue
Water stage
Cm
0 or 2
24/day (dt=1h)
recording gauge or
H in stream
Continuous
hydrometric sensor
recording
1/day (dt-24h)
2/day (dt=12h)
Specific
ls-1
1
24/day (dt=1h) Calculated
-2
km
runoff
Continuous
recording
Discharge QH
[Q for H from
Sounding of stable
Q=f(H)],
cross-section,
1/day
(dt-24h)
depth of river M3s-1,
1, 2 or 3 24/day (dt=1h) hydrometric
m3s-1
channel,
current meter,
1-2/week
measurement
hydrometric sensor
of velocity in
stream
1/day (dt-24h) Water temperature
Water
°C
1
2/day (dt=12h) sensor with
temperature
24/day (dt=1h) conductometer/pH
T
70
and some
Alternative
method
Staff gauge +
digital recording
gauge, widecrested weir
Recording
mercurial
thermometer,
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Parameter
Unit
Accuracy
Frequency of
(Decimal
measurement
places)
Basic method
meter
Analytical methods
Specific
electric
conductivity
SEC
µS
m-1
1
Suspension
Cs
Mg l-1
1
Reaction
(pH)
pH
2
Alkalinity
mg
dm-3
2
Sodium Na
Potassium K
Calcium Ca
Magnesium
Mg
mg
dm-3
mg
dm-3
mg
dm-3
mg
dm-3
2
2
2
2
Alternative
method
thermograph
1/day (dt-24h) Conductometrically
2/day (dt=12h) at reference temp. Oscillometrically
24/day (dt=1h) of 25ºC
1/day (dt-24h)
Gravimetric
2/day (dt=12h)
method
24/day (dt=1h)
Potentiometrically
1/day (dt-24h)
at reference temp.
24/day (dt=1h)
of 25ºC
Titrimetrically in
1/day (dt-24h) the presence of
24/day (dt=1h) phenolphthalein or
methyl orange
1/day (dt-24h) Atomic absorption
24/day (dt=1h) spectrometry
1/day (dt-24h) Atomic absorption
24/day (dt=1h) spectrometry
1/day (dt-24h) Atomic absorption
24/day (dt=1h) spectrometry
1/day (dt-24h) Atomic absorption
24/day (dt=1h) spectrometry
Sulphate
sulphur SSO4
mg
dm-3
2
1/day (dt-24h) Ion
24/day (dt=1h) chromatography
Bicarbonates
HCO3
mg
dm-3
2
1/day (dt-24h) Titrimetrically; see
24/day (dt=1h) alkalinity
Chlorides Cl
mg
dm-3
2
1/day (dt-24h) Ion
24/day (dt=1h) chromatography
Silica SiO2
mg
dm-3
2
Colorimetrically
1/day (dt-24h)
with ammonium
24/day (dt=1h)
molybdate
71
Nephelometer
Flame
photometry
Flame
photometry
Titrimetrically
with versenate
Titrimetrically
with versenate
Gravimetrically in
the presence of
barium chloride,
nephelometric
method
Potentiometrically
with chloride
electrode,
titrimetrically Mohr's method
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3.3
SLOPE WASH
The quantification of slope aquatic sediment fluxes (e.g. in alpine
environments) includes high demands on the methods chosen. Frequently,
logistical problems (limited accessibility) have to be considered as well as a
high variability of meteorological conditions and sediment fluxes.
In general, the amount of denudation caused by slope wash can be
determined by measuring
a) The change in topography (measurement on the plot scale or along
profiles), or
b) The sediment yield of small catchments where slope wash takes place.
Other techniques suitable for various scales (e.g.
137
Cs dating of sediment
profiles, photogrammetry, splash cups etc.) are reviewed by Collins & Walling
(2004) and Stroosnijder (2005).
a) Quantifying slope wash by measuring changes in topography
In order to quantify topographic changes on surfaces subject to slope wash,
denudation gauges (also referred to as ‘erosion pins’, see Haigh, 1977) can
be installed (Fig. 3.1). Rods made of construction steel should be driven deep
into the slope substrate (e.g. 40 cm deep with 50 cm long rods) and
perpendicular to the slope surface (in order to measure normal distances).
Preferably, gauges should be positioned on the slope in a way that
longitudinal and cross sections (1-D) can be constructed. Readings from
multiple gauges can also be interpolated (2-D) in order to detect the spatial
distribution of denudation and deposition.
Preferably, readings should be made regularly (e.g. twice a year, in autumn
and in spring) from the top of the gauges to the slope surface. If the surface is
highly uneven (high roughness), multiple readings (maximum-minimum) are
necessary at each gauge; it has been suggested to slide a cardboard disk
with a central hole down the rod to determine the reading (Wetzel, 1992).
Depending on the frequency of the readings, the temporal resolution of this
method is rather low. Therefore, in most cases, reasonable event-based
results cannot be expected. The accuracy of denudation gauge readings may
be questionable, e.g. because the steel rods are susceptible to frost-heave
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(Evans & Warburton, 2005). A major drawback is that slope processes may
be subject to a considerable bias when the researcher has to climb the slope
to read the gauges (Haigh, 1977) and because of mechanical effects of the
gauges themselves. In spite of these problems, we consider the method to be
highly suitable for medium- and long-term quantification of slope aquatic
sediment flux.
Contactless surveys of hillslope surfaces can be achieved using laser
scanners and laser tachymeters. With the former, a large quantity of points
can be surveyed in a very short time, and the resulting representation of the
surface, e.g. a digital elevation model, is very accurate. The latter takes more
time, but is not less accurate; we suggest the following procedure (Fig. 3.2):
Three points are fixed on the slope, which serve as anchor points for a virtual
reference plane, which is orientated parallel to the slope. Predefined grid
points (‘virtual denudation gauges’) on the reference plane can be surveyed
again and again without affecting the surface.
With both alternatives, high-resolution digital elevation models can be
generated and compared with each other in order to calculate a spatially
distributed sediment budget and to delineate zones of erosion and deposition
(cut-and-fill analysis; see e.g. Morche et al., 2007). The application of
terrestrial digital stereophotogrammetry is a conceivable alternative (see e.g.
lab experiments by Rieke-Zapp & Nearing, 2005), but further experience is
needed before a recommendation can be made without restriction.
Fig. 3.1. Denudation gauge (arrow) at a test site (left) and schematic slope
profile with recommended positions of erosion pins.
Figure taken from Haas (unpubl.)
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Fig. 3.2. Assembly of a test plot with ‘virtual denudation gauges’. The points E1-E3
define the reference plane. Figure taken from HAAS (unpubl.)
b) Measurement of sediment yield
Sediment traps can be installed in small channels draining sub-basins in
which slope wash occurs, or on test plots. For the former, inexpensive plastic
troughs (‘Gerlach troughs’) with a capacity of 65-95 litres (Becht, 1995;
Rieger, 1999) can be used as sediment traps, metal gutters have been used
on test plots (Morgan, 1979; Hudson, 1993). In order to ensure that discharge
and sediment load are completely collected by the sediment trap, the channel
bed or hillslope surface at the inflow should be covered with a rugged,
impermeable foil. In the ideal case, the complete bed load or the sediment
washed from the slope, respectively, is stored in the sediment trap and can be
sampled at regular intervals (e.g. weekly).
The installation of Gerlach troughs is only appropriate in small channels
(mean discharge smaller than 10 ls-1), and during high discharge events (e.g.
a storm), the capacity of the troughs is quickly exceeded. In this case, only a
minimum sediment flux can be indicated. To mitigate this problem, the
installation of multiple troughs in a row has been suggested (Oostwoud
Wijdenes & Ergenzinger, 1998). In catchments with high sediment loads, the
sampling frequency of the sediment traps has to be kept very high. In
addition, it must be considered that the installation and maintenance of
sediment traps in channels exerts some influence on the channel itself; in
particular, the first readings have a high probability of overestimating the
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sediment flux. In the presence of coarse substrate (talus, moraine) or
permafrost, the installation itself is problematic.
For the interpretation of the results, it has to be stated that the sediment
sampled from traps includes both material derived from slope wash (plus
other slope processes) and from channel erosion. As such, it is the product of
multiple processes rather than of slope wash alone. For this reason, the
importance of slope wash in the sub-basin should be evaluated before
sediment traps are installed.
3.4 SOLIFLUCTION
Solifluction is a slow mass movement process associated with freeze-thaw
cycles and frost heave. The Encyclopedia of Geomorphology (Goudie, 2004),
refers to solifluction as consisting oft the two processes frost creep and
gelifluction. Solifluction processes induce formation of features, such as lobes,
terraces, sheets and sorted stripes.
Matsuoka (2001) has listed different methods to evaluate solifluction rates.
Surface velocity of the landforms can easily be determined and compared
using low-cost methods, such as painted lines and marked stones for
movement of uppermost particles and tilting rods and pegs for movement of
the uppermost soil layer. Subsurface velocity can be obtained using marker
columns, aluminium foil strips and plastic tubes, but they need re-excavation.
The Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring network (CALM) has also
recommended the use of vertically inserted strings with a wooden disc on the
surface, which allows heave measurements. Marker columns have the
advantage that they allow the detection of shear surfaces. The disadvantage
of using foil strips and tubes is that they are limited in deformation and cannot
provide fully accurate displacement profiles. Electric sensorss such as the
inclinometer, the solifluction meter and strain probes can also be used and
permit year-round automatic recording using data loggers. Important
environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, soil moisture, pore pressure)
can be measured simultaneously. Electric systems are sensitive for technical
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problems such as damage or malfunctioning, cost more and are less easy to
use. These methods are applicable on a local scale (plot or slope scale).
Remote sensing can be used for a larger scale assessment (Walsh et al.,
2003).
The length of the monitoring period is also important. Climatic variations
during the year cause movement variability and the sensor installation
produces soil disturbance, which affect solifluction rates during the first few
years (Matsuoka, 2001).
If an understanding of environmental conditions influencing solifluction rates is
required these should also be monitored. Environmental parameters should
include monitoring of ground temperatures (e.g Smith, 1988; Price, 1990), soil
moisture conditions (e.g Smith, 1988; Price, 1990; Jaesche et al., 2003),
slope gradient (Åkerman, 1996), duration and thickness of snowcover (e.g
Hugenholtz and Lewkowicz, 2002; Jaesche et al., 2003), soil texture (e.g
Hugenholtz and Lewkowicz, 2002) and vegetation. Ground temperatures give
information on the ground frost regime, including freeze and thaw depths and
frequency of frost cycles. Duration and thickness of snow cover is important to
understand since it is one factor that controls the soil moisture conditions and
thermal regimes, such as rate of the autumn freeze-up.
Suggestions for monitoring methods for the quantification of solifluction rates
For local scale measurements two low cost and easy to use methods are
proposed. Painted stones are proposed to use for surface movement
assessment in areas with high stone abundance and/or intensive frost heave.
In areas where frost heave is less intense and/or stoniness on the surface
less abundant (for example where turf-banked lobes dominate) wooden
markers of 20 cm length and 1 cm2 width are suitable. If possible a total
station or a differential GPS (DGPS) is used to measure the position of the
stones or the markers. If a total station or a DGPS cannot be used, a
reference line is used. This should be carefully anchored to the ground,
preferably by drilling a hook into the bedrock or to a large boulder. The
measurement lines should not exceed 30 m, as the accuracy of the
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measurement decrease with the length of the line. The length of monitoring
periods should be at least 5 years.
3.5 AEOLIAN PROCESSES
Aeolian processes refer to sediment movement by air-flow. Due to the often
suppressed vegetation cover in cold environments, as well as abundance of
fine sediments related to e.g., glacial and periglacial processes, wind may
play a significant role as a geomorphological agent in these environments.
With respect to catchment scale studies, the operation of aeolian processes
differs from fluvial or slope processes in that it does not fully obey topographic
barriers such as water divides. Hence, wind is capable of blowing material
across catchment borders, causing potential “leakage” to standard flux
calculations.
There is no single standard design for aeolian sediment flux monitoring in the
field. This is due to the fact that many aspects of aeolian transport process
are still inadequately understood and field campaigns are continuously
developed and adjusted accordingly. The physics of the aeolian sediment
transport is outside the scope of this paper, but it may be useful to familiarise
oneself with Bagnold’s (1941) classic work and many recent updates and
summaries (e.g., Sørensen, 2003; Raupach & Liu, 2004).
Furthermore, large variation in the field circumstances (sediment properties,
topography, wind speed, vegetation, moisture content, etc.) and rationale of
the study (process study, flux measurement, net changes, etc.) call for sitespecific field campaign. Nonetheless, a minimum set up of aeolian flux
research typically consists of a device to monitor aeolian sediment transport.
Transport data are typically supported by wind information either with in situ
wind observations or data from a suitable (nearby) weather station.
Aeolian material
The key characteristic of aeolian processes is the restricted maximum grain
size of the sediment suitable for transportation. This is due to the comparably
low density (approx. 1/1000 of water density) and low viscosity of air as a
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transporting fluid. Most common particle sizes subject to aeolian transport
vary from fine–medium sand to silt. The lowest threshold velocities
correspond to the size fraction of ca. 0.2 mm. Smaller particles than this
require higher initial flow velocities due to the aerodynamically smooth surface
and strong cohesion (often related to moisture or bonding salts), whereas
larger particles are simply heavy enough to restrain the shear. In flux studies,
it is advisable to do at least basic analyses on sediment textural parameters,
e.g. mean grain size, sorting, skewness and kurtosis, plus possibly
mineralogy (for density) and grain form. Care has to be taken when sampling
the sediment as due to winnowing effect (lag formation) and moisture
gradients the immediate grain surface may show characteristics different from
the bulk sediment.
In cold environments, sediment surface may be seasonally frozen or snow
covered, which hamper the aeolian process but do not necessarily stop it
completely (McKenna Neuman, 1989; 1990; Lewkowicz & Young, 1991; Law
& van Dijk, 1994; van Dijk & Law, 1995; 2003).
Transport processes
Aeolian sediment transport takes place in three processes: creep (reptation),
saltation and suspension (see e.g., Leenders et al., 2005). Creep denotes to
rolling or sliding of particles over neighbouring grains by the impacts of other
moving grains. Saltation is bouncing or jumping of grains, whereby wind shear
lifts grains from the surface at steep (55°) initial ascent angle. Grains fly in the
airflow gaining momentum and return back to surface at low angle (10°) and
high speed, causing dislodgement of further particles. Saltation typically
represents the largest proportion of the total sediment transport. Suspension
refers to the movement of small particles (dust) in turbulent air without
frequent rebounds on the surface and is therefore challenging to monitor.
Suspension is often initiated by larger saltating grains disturbing the fine
sediment surface sealed by salts or moisture.
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Flux monitoring
Traps
Aeolian sediment flux can be investigated with various methods. The flux is
normally given as kilograms through a one-metre wide “gate” in a second (kg
m-1s-1). Instantaneous sediment flux is most commonly accomplished with
sediment traps of various designs. There are two main types of sand traps
commonly used by researchers: horizontal traps, which do not rise above the
sand surface and measure the falling sand mass flux, and a vertical trap,
which rises some tens of cm above the sediment surface and measures the
horizontal sand mass flux (see e.g., Li & Ni, 2003). Horizontal traps have
generally higher sampling efficiency but are rather large to operate. A
common problem with sediment traps is their aerodynamic robustness: they
interfere with the airflow and instigate scour in the surrounding sediment
surface resulting in deteriorating effectiveness in time. Many vertical traps are
made of nylon or metal mesh to allow airflow escape through the porous
screening whilst stopping the grains.
Impact responders
In many studies, sediment traps are replaced with various flux impact
responders (often referred to as saltiphones), which count impacts of grains
hitting a specially designed microphone (see e.g., Baas, 2004). This method
does not, however, resolve the mass flux due to the fact that the observation
is based only on the momentum of the saltating grains. It is therefore difficult
to relate the sensor response to a mass flux, unless traditional sand traps are
deployed alongside the impact sensors to determine site-specific relationships
between mass transport and signal response. Saltiphones are useful, for
example, in determining threshold wind speeds when used in combination
with high frequency wind data (Stout, 2006).
Long-term fluxes
Instantaneous flux approach helps understanding the sedimentary processes
but may not reveal long-term sediment balance due to the highly variable
nature of wind as compared to, say, fluvial environment. Therefore, more
representative results of sediment budgets may be gained by long-term
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monitoring of the sediment surface. This is typically monitored with erosion
pins or high-accuracy levelling (see e.g., Käyhkö, 2007).
Landscape level changes
Landscape level flux estimates may be done using remote sensing
techniques. Multi-temporal high resolution optical data (air photos, Ikonos,
SPOT etc.) may reveal dynamics between vegetated and barren sediment
surfaces, whereas vertical changes in sediment surfaces may be disclosed
with synthetic aperture radar data with interferometric (InSAR) techniques.
Wind measurements
Should one be interested in spatio-temporal extrapolation of the aeolian flux
results, there is a need to find a locally valid correlation between wind speed
and sediment flux. Therefore, it is of crucial importance that the monitored airflow (and the resolved shear stress) represents the monitored flux. This
requires carefully designed monitoring campaign. In the field, wind velocity is
typically measured with a vertical series of cup anemometers or, should one
prefer monitoring at micro-scale (i.e. very low elevation above sediment
surface and/or very high frequency) with hot wires, sonic anemometers or
other miniature device. Selection of monitoring frequency and period depends
on the specific question to be addressed, but the highly fluctuating nature of
airflow requires monitoring frequency from sub-seconds to minutes, still easily
accomplished with modern data loggers. Long-term wind data are often
available from weather stations, but one should use wind data from distant
stations with caution, as their regional representativeness is rather limited.
3.6 MASS MOVEMENT PROCESSES
3.6.1 DEBRIS FLOWS
Debris flows are rapid mass movements involving a mixture of water and
heterogeneous debris, occurring on steep mountain-slopes. Descriptions of
the process progressing downslope can be found in Larsson (1982), Johnson
& Rodine (1984) and Decaulne et al. (2005).
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The study of debris flows in cold environments has to highlight five main
issues, mainly raised through field investigation and air photo interpretation:
-
The characteristics of the source-area reveal the initiation of the debris
movement: the destabilisation of the debris mass can be caused by a
rotational slide on unconsolidated material (associated with large
amounts of inherited material, Prior et al., 1970; Statham, 1976;
Addison, 1987; Decaulne et al., 2005), or by a fire-hose effect (mostly
debris supplied by present-day freeze-thaw, Neboit-Guilhot et al., 1989;
Glade, 2004). The origin of material has essential implication on the
recurrence of the process, as it requires permanent debris availability
or, in contrary, the necessity of the reconstitution of the stock of
material in between two events.
-
The transfer of debris downslope builds a typical landform assemblage
succession along a track, which is commonly fixed upslope but
migrates laterally downslope (Sharp, 1942; Rapp, 1960; Brunsden,
1979). The upper section is characterised by a deep incision more or
less filled with material from the debris flow. The mid section shows
both incision and accumulation between debris levées. The levées are
more developed in the lower section, bordering a non-incised channel,
leading to the debris lobes. The parallel levées, often uneven and
asymmetrical, show an inverse vertical sedimentary architecture, the
largest boulders being at the surface; the observation of those levées is
the main indicator of a debris flow activity.
-
The geomorphological impact of the debris flow is dependent on its
scale or magnitude, i.e. on the volume of material transferred (Innes,
1983a) and the creation of specific features. Most of the time, only
coarse material volume is estimated. Debris-flow volume estimates are
therefore derived from morphometric properties of the deposits (Fig.
3.3), i.e. on terrain profiling and measuring using tape and inclinometer
(Rapp, 1960; Innes, 1983a; Costa, 1984; Nyberg & Rapp, 1998;
Decaulne & Sæmundsson, 2006). The calculation of denudation rates
can be obtained for each event by dividing the sediment yield by a
denudation area; it is expressed in mm/km². The sediment yield
analysis can be completed with a survey of suspended material in the
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stream just after the debris flow pulse, underlining the high
concentration of fine sediment through the debris-flow channel
(Decaulne et al., 2005). Samples are obtained by plunging a bottle in
the flow at different moments before, during and after the event
according to the aim of the study; the water is later evaporated from the
bottle in a drying oven and the sediment is weighed, and the results
expressed preferentially in mg/l. As this latter sampling requires
crossing the unstable material forming the levées, minimal precautions
have to be taken by the researcher to insure safety.
-
Debris-flow frequency in a specific area is derived from absolute-age
and relative-age sources. The historical documents are the most
accurate archives (Sæmundsson & Pétursson, 1999; Glade, 2001),
and have to be completed by natural evidences to fit the gap of
unwitnessed
events.
Especially,
vegetation
cover
is
a
useful
geomorphic indicator (Broscoe & Thomson, 1969; Sauchyn et al.,
1983; Decaulne, 2007), as well as lichenometry (Rapp & Nyberg, 1981;
Innes, 1983b; 1985; Jonasson et al., 1993; Decaulne & Sæmundsson,
2003; Decaulne et al., 2005) if measurements can be calibrated to a
local lichen growth curve. In suitable areas, dendrochronology datings
are a significant helping tool (Strunk, 1991; Bollschweiler et al., in
press). For older events, rock weathering and rock hardness
investigations using a Schmidt hammer and weathering rinds
measurements are appropriate methods (Boelhouwers et al., 2001).
-
Debris-flow triggering factors can be related to external or internal
causes. Even if seismic activity can release this process, most of the
events are due to an excess of water within the debris masses. Intense
rainfall, long-lasting rainfall, rapid snowmelt and melt of permafrost are
the main triggers (Jahn, 1976; Kotarba, 1992; Luckman, 1992; Harris &
Gustafson, 1993; Sandersen et al., 1996; Starkel, 1996; Sæmundsson
et al., 2003). Investigating the meteorological data is therefore
essential, to highlight the origin of the water supply within the debris
masses. When available, one hour or ten minutes rain intensity should
be preferred to 24 h data; snowmelt modelling could also be necessary
for nival releases.
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Fig.
3.3.
Terrain
profiling
highlighting
the
slope
incision,
material
accumulation, and levées architecture related to debris flow activity and
geomorphic impact (modified from Decaulne et al., 2005)
3.6.2 SNOW AVALANCHES
The snow deposits of avalanches that have been in contact with snow-free
surfaces during their descent (above all: full-depth avalanches) can contain
considerable amounts of rock, soil and organic debris, which concentrate on
their surface during snowmelt. In order to quantify sediment yield, the snow
deposits should be mapped (e.g. on large-scale aerial photos) and sampled at
a late stage of snowmelt, when the process of debris melt-out has advanced.
In many cases, the avalanche snow deposits can be subdivided into sections
with homogeneous debris cover that should be mapped and sampled
separately.
A prerequisite for this procedure is that dirty avalanche deposits must be
clearly distinguishable from unaffected areas. Therefore, it is not always
possible to do the fieldwork when snowmelt is over. On talus slopes, for
example, avalanche deposits cannot be distinguished from the talus substrate
once the avalanche snow has disappeared. Mapping and sampling of the
debris cover can be done on vegetated (Ackroyd, 1986) or glacier surfaces
(André, 1990), large blocks cleaned before the avalanche season (Luckman,
1978) or artificial plates fixed to slopes (Luckman, 1978; Gardner, 1983).
Frequently, thin dirty avalanche deposits cover clean snow (either undisturbed
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snow cover or snow deposits of previous avalanches) and can be easily
mapped and sampled (Becht, 1995; Jomelli & Bertran, 2001; Heckmann,
2006). In order to keep the sample weight to be carried in a reasonable range,
sampling areas of 0,25-1 m² are suggested for fine debris. Coarse debris
should be collected and weighed directly in the field.
In a GIS, the sample weight or volume per unit area and the surface area
(preferable to planimetric area, as the latter is too small on steep slopes) of
the respective deposits are used to calculate the total sediment yield of the
avalanche.
Multiple
sampling
of
avalanche
deposits
which
were
homogeneously covered by debris showed the accuracy of the calculation of
sediment yield to be in the range of +/- 30% (Heckmann et al., 2005;
Heckmann, 2006). The calculation of denudation rates (by dividing the
sediment yield by a denudation area) is more difficult: As different areas
(study area, catchment area, rockwall area, process area etc…) have been
used in previous studies, their results are not comparable. It is suggested that
the area affected by the respective avalanche (i.e. the complete process
domain) should be determined as exactly as possible in order to get a more
realistic estimate of denudation. This can be done by mapping the starting
and transit zones shortly after the event, or by spatial modelling (Heckmann,
2006).
3.6.3 ROCKFALLS
A rockfall is defined as a free movement of rock material away from steep
slopes such as a cliff (Flageollet & Weber, 1996). Small rockfalls originate
from rock blocks that are freshly detached from the rock face (primary rockfall)
or alternatively from material that has been resting in situ, on ledges or in
gullies on the rock wall (secondary rockfall) (Matznetter, 1956). Larger
rockfalls occur due to sliding of a rock mass often on a pre-existing
discontinuity or due to toppling of a rock tower (Whalley, 1974; Petley &
Petley, 2005). The most common classification for rockfalls is the volumetric
classification introduced by Whalley (1974; 1984) that divides up debris falls
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(<10 m³), boulder falls (10-102 m³), block falls (102-104 m³), cliff falls (104-106
m³) and falls of bergsturz size (> 106 m³).
The sediment transfer can be evaluated directly by measuring the quantity of
rockfall over a short span of time or indirectly by estimating historical rockfall
deposits that were accumulated over time. Indirect methods are preferably
applied to high-magnitude rockfall deposits, scree slopes and rock glaciers,
with the latter representing an integral value of rockfall deposition over a
Holocene to Lateglacial time-scale (Barsch & Jakob 1998; Schrott et al.,
2002). Direct methods include acoustic observations, lichenometric and
dendrogeomorphological dating, measurement of height differences of quartz
veins, measurements of accumulations on snow patches and on rockfall
collectors, evaluation of removal rates on painted rock walls, laser scanning
and road inventories (overview see Krautblatter & Dikau, 2007). Due to their
high spatial and temporal resolution, rockfall collector measurements provide
the most accurate results for primary (Sass, 1998; Sass, 2005) and secondary
rockfalls (Krautblatter & Moser, 2005b) in restricted catchment areas.
Repeated high-resolution laser scanning is about to become the most
sophisticated method for extended rock faces (Rosser et al., 2005). Target
values of rockfall studies are rockwall retreat (mm/y), sediment transfer from
the rockface on the deposition area (t/a) and, where information on fall heights
is available, released geomorphic work (J). Rates of primary rockfall can be
attributed to pre-weathering factors (geological properties, topography) and
weathering factors (climate, hydrology, biological conditions) while secondary
rockfalls mostly respond to internal and external triggers.
Measurement and interpretation of rockfall studies is connected with a
number of problems: The impact of pre-weathering factors, weathering
factors, external and internal triggers is poorly understood and their properties
are often not reported (Matsuoka, 2001). Only certain rockfall magnitudes are
measured and no reliable relations exist for the proportion of different
magnitudes (Rapp, 1960; Hungr , et al. 1999; Guthrie & Evans, in press;
Krautblatter et al., in press). Proportions of primary and secondary rockfalls
are often not mentioned (Sass, 1998). The attenuation of debris fall intensity
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with distance from the rock face is not considered (Statham, 1976;
Krautblatter et al., in press). To standardise rockfall measurements we
recommend to (i) classify promoting conditions (permanent) in the catchment
area according to Selby’s rock mass strength classification (Selby, 1980). (ii)
Triggering factors (transitional) that are prone to influence rockfall intensity
(obligatory: freeze-thaw, rainfall intensity; facultative: seismic tremors, rock
moisture, ice contents, etc) should be recorded permanently. If extreme
events are included in the study period, their magnitude and frequency should
be referred to an “average” return period of such conditions (Krautblatter &
Moser, 2006). (iii) The attenuation of debris fall intensity with distance from
the rock face must be assessed or modelled. (iv) Different rockfall magnitudes
should be evaluated combining direct and indirect methods to create complete
values of rockfall sediment yield.
When comparing these data to other sediment yield or sediment transfer data
it must be considered that the unit mm/y refers to horizontal rock wall retreat
while it is applied to vertical rates of denudation for other processes. A
comparison of both, sediment yield and geomorphic work with other
processes may result in contrary relations due to the considerable transport
height of rockfalls that is only included in the concept of geomorphic work
(Krautblatter et al., in press). The large discrepancy of rockwall retreat values
reported from different studies (0.005-4.5 mma-1) (Glade, 2005) emphasizes
the importance of further quantitative studies that are well referenced with
environmental conditions. Only a combination of direct laboratory and field
studies (Viles, 2000) that deliberately focuses on nonlinear behaviour
(Krautblatter & Moser, 2005a; Petley & Petley, 2005; Viles, 2005) with indirect
sediment studies that decipher the information gathered in rockfall storages
(Van Steijn et al., 1995; McCaroll et al., 2001; Sass & Krautblatter, in press) is
prone to reveal the complex behaviour of rockfall over time.
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3.7 EXTREME EVENTS
The terminology related to “extreme events” is quite widespread in cold
environment literature, and always describes a major episode triggered during
excessive conditions. The extreme event is therefore unusual, either because
of its cause, or because of its consequences. Speaking about an extreme
debris-flow event supposes that the “usual” debris-flow events are well known
in the investigated area, at least during the previous 100 years. Hence, it will
be
an
event
of
low
frequency
and
high
magnitude
(cf.
specific
frequency/magnitude paragraph). The event might not be extreme by itself,
but in comparison with others. Thus, it is not systematically relevant to
compare the character extreme of a single process in different cold
environments. A discussion related to normal/extreme event can be found in
Starkel (1976, pp. 205-207).
The term extreme event can have various meanings:
•
It can refer to unusual weather conditions that induced abnormal water
input from high rainfall intensity, long-lasting rainfall or rapid snowmelt,
triggering the debris flows (Rapp, 1974; 1987; Starkel, 1976; 1996;
Decaulne et al., 2005). Meteorological data have to be examined
carefully, knowing that the frequency of extreme rainfall/snowmelt
conditions is not a valuable basis from which the debris-flow frequency
can be extrapolated.
•
It could also reveal a spectacular geomorphic impact (both erosive and
accumulative), transferring a large volume of material downslope, reaching
an exceptionally further point, i.e. having a singular magnitude, intensity
and / or duration (Rapp & Strömquist, 1976; Nyberg, 1985; Nyberg & Rapp,
1998; Decaulne & Sæmundsson, 2006).
•
The last aspect of an extreme debris-flow event concerns its human
impact: the damages, the catastrophic dimension induced by debris flows
on communities could transform a “normal” event into an extreme one after
impacting human infrastructures in areas where population have not been
endangered since their settlement (Larsson, 1982; Nyberg & Rapp, 1998;
Decaulne, 2005).
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3.8 MAGNITUDE AND FREQUENCY
The evaluation of short- and medium-term measurements of water or
sediment fluxes is severely hampered by the fact that the time scale within
which they are conducted will not cover the full range of process magnitudes.
This fact has consequences for various research objectives, such as to
determine the range of potential sediment flux rates or to estimate long-term
average, total flux, and the relative effectiveness of particular events in terms
of geomorphic work. Therefore, it is important to consider the frequency of
events of a given size, the so-called magnitude-frequency-relationship (MFR).
Obtaining data for both magnitude and frequency is not a straight-forward
procedure, which differs for the individual geomorphic processes.
In general, the determination of the magnitude of sediment fluxes
•
Depends on the type of process (episodic or continuous activity),
•
Uses various methods (estimation, ground/aerial photo survey,
measurement), and
•
Is possible using data obtained by direct measurement (discharge,
sediment concentration, particle sizes, mass or volume of deposit) or
data, which allow the indirect estimation ('proxy' data: depth or length
of failure or scarp, area of deposit)
Depending on the units of measurement, the magnitude of sediment fluxes
may already include temporal aspects, e.g. if rates are given (m³/s, t/a etc…).
The determination of event magnitude (e.g. mass movements) from deposits
in the field is complicated by the fact that deposits of smaller events are easily
destroyed or covered by erosion and larger events so that small events may
be overlooked. Therefore, among other reasons, inventories made from aerial
photos or mapping in the field are often incomplete (see Malamud et al.,
2004). In addition, different methods and/or observers produce different
inventories (Ardizzone et al., 2002; van Westen et al., 2004).
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The frequency of hydro-meteorological and geomorphic events (e.g. annual
maximum flood, storms, landslides etc…) can be obtained in various ways
(see below). With respect to processes with continuous activity, frequency
mostly refers to the exceedance of a threshold (e.g. discharge, sediment
concentration etc…); for these processes, frequency can be calculated from
continuous or threshold-triggered measurements.
If there is an empirical correlation of governing variables and flux rates, the
results obtained from measurements can be tentatively extended on the basis
of long-term records (e.g. MFR of discharge). For example, sediment rating
curves relating sediment concentration to discharge can be used to estimate
sediment loads for the length of available discharge records and to quantify
the contribution of different discharge magnitudes to the total sediment load
(cumulated sediment transport curves on the basis of flow-duration curves).
The same may apply to the MFR of hydro-meteorological triggers where there
is a sound statistical correlation with the occurrence of mass movements (see
e.g. Jakob & Weatherly, 2003).
The investigation of less frequent events (e.g. mass movements) requires
mapping their traces, e.g. deposits (caveat: small events, see above), and
dating them (radiometric and luminescence dating, dendrogeomorphology,
lichenometry, tephrochronology, multitemporal aerial surveys, historical data
etc., see e.g. Lang et al., 1999). If no absolute dating can be achieved (e.g.
undated landslide or debris flow inventories), at least the relative frequency of
different magnitudes can be determined. A return period for a given event
magnitude can only be estimated where at least a tentative time scale is
available for the inventory. Sedimentary archives such as colluvial (e.g. Blikra
& Nemec, 1998) or lake sediments (e.g. Irmler et al., 2004) can be used to
establish event chronologies, but the magnitude of formative events is not
readily deduced from stratigraphy.
Magnitude-frequency-relationships (MFR) are investigated on different spatial
scales, from single hillslopes to large catchments. A theoretical probability
function (e.g. power-law, inverse gamma function, see Malamud et al., 2004)
can be adapted to the empirical data in order to define the MFR for
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visualisation and further analysis. The probability of exceeding a threshold
can be modelled by fitting extreme value probability functions (e.g. Gumbel or
Pareto distributions, see Katz et al. (2002) for hydrological examples).
As recent papers have shown, some processes relevant to sediment transport
exhibit a MFR described by a power-law, at least for a certain range of scales.
The parameters of the power-law function often appear to be very specific for
a process, i.e. the same parameters apply, for example, for landslide
magnitude-frequency-distributions in different study areas and for events with
totally different triggering factors (see e.g. Hergarten, 2002; Guzzetti et al.,
2002; Malamud et al., 2004).
Working with MFR is very common in meteorological, hydrological and natural
hazards
research,
especially
in
the
field
of
risk
assessment.
Geomorphological papers often still rely on averaged short- or medium-term
measurements regardless of their distribution. Based on MFRs, it can be
estimated which part of the magnitude-frequency-spectrum contributes most
to the long-term sediment budget or to landform development (e.g. the classic
paper by Wolman & Miller (1960), see also Eaton et al. (2003), Nash (1994),
Vogel et al. (2003)).
Under certain assumptions, MFR can be used to estimate long-term process
rates from short- or medium-term measurements. The greater the record
length, the more significant is the observed MFR and the smaller is the
confidence interval for the estimation of long-term averages; but longer times
of observation decrease the validity of the assumption that environmental
conditions, above all climatic variables, have remained and will remain
constant over time (a very important constraint for extrapolation). This is
especially problematic considering the fact that cold environments are
particularly sensitive to environmental change, and even small changes of
governing variables may result in significant changes of geomorphic
processes.
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3.9 CONCLUSIONS
The methods and techniques outlined and recommended in this Chapter 3
should be considered when trying to quantify present-day sediment fluxes in
cold environment small catchment geosystems.
The adequate selection of methods and techniques depends on the
environmental and logistic conditions at the selected key test site.
For detailed sediment budget work longer-term investigations and field
monitoring (at least 5 -10 years) are required to generate reliable data sets.
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Part B
Recording and Documenting Field Measurements
SEDIBUD Key Test Site:
Latnjavagge (Swedisch Lapland)
(Photo by A.A. Beylich)
SEDIBUD Key Test Site:
Tana River (Finnish Lapland)
(Photo by A.A. Beylich)
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Chapter 4
Selection of critical key test catchments
4.0 INTRODUCTION
The major aim of the SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD programme is to perform the
quantitative analysis of impact of climate change on sediment transfers and
sediment budgets in cold environments. Such an analysis clearly depends on
the
magnitude
of
climate
change.
However
the
major
focus
of
SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD is the impact of climate change on the sediment flux
processes that link source to sink. To provide an integrated study of sourceto-sink sediment fluxes and sediment budgets in cold environments, the key
processes of weathering, chemical and mechanical denudation and erosion,
mass movements, fluvial transport, glacial processes, and sedimentation in
lakes, fjords and coastal areas need to be considered (Beylich et al., 2005;
2006). This requires researchers to collect and to compare data from a wide
range of different high-latitude and high-altitude cold environments worldwide
and to apply standardized methods, techniques and approaches to
characterise sediment fluxes, sediment budgets and relationships between
climate and sedimentary transfer processes.
Long-term investigations (10+ years) of sediment transfers and budgets,
including the analysis of storage elements as well as long-term and yearround monitoring of meteorological parameters, snow cover, ground frost and
denudative geomorphic processes will be carried out in 30 – 40 selected
SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test Sites (critical catchments of ca 10-30 km2)
worldwide using the methods, techniques and protocols as recommended in
this manual. Scaling issues will be addressed through upscaling at selected
target areas where the key test site is a nested catchment within a larger (ca.
100 km2 +) drainage basin system. The comparable data sets generated in
the different cold environments will be used for the development of the
SEDIBUD Metadata Database. This database will be used to identify and
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model the effects of climate change on sediment transfers and sediment
budgets in cold environments.
4.1 SELECTION OF CRITICAL KEY TEST SITES
Based on the proposals received, we will select globally distributed
SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test Sites where long-term investigations/
monitoring will be carried out under the SEDIBUD umbrella, following
guidelines and protocols contained in the SEDIFLUX Manual. Selected Key
Test Sites may fulfil all or some of the requirements listed in the List of
Requirements for Proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test Sites below. Key
Test Sites with different levels and degrees of complexity of the
investigations/monitoring will be included in the SEDIBUD program.
Additional Key Test Sites can be added during the next few years.
The comparable data sets generated at these different Key Test Sites will be
available for the SEDIBUD Metadata Database. The Responsible Contact
Person for each selected Key Test Sites will be asked to sign an agreement
letter (contract) including details on data management, data sharing and
ownership of data.
4.2 LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR PROPOSED SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD KEY
TEST SITES
Requirement for the proposed Target Region
Cold Environment
Requirements for the proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test Catchment
within this Target Region:
Test Catchment is a representative landscape unit within the target region
YES ___ NO ___ Type: ______
Catchment Size of ca. 10 – 30 km2
YES ___ NO ___
Critical Test Catchment of ca. 10-30 km2 is a nested Catchment within a
larger drainage basin system (of ca. 100 km2 ++)
YES ___ NO ___
Critical Test Catchment with a well delimited catchment area of ca 10-30 km2
and with a well-defined outlet
YES ___ NO ___
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Range of denudative geomorphic processes is given YES ___ NO ___
Different storage elements are given YES ___ NO ___
Only minimal (or no) human influence is present in the catchment
YES ___ NO ___
Further Requirements for the proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test
Catchment:
Given research accessibility and infrastructure
YES ___ NO ___
Key Test Catchment is a key site within another existing program (ITEX,
CALM, IPY, etc.)
YES ___ NO ___ If YES: Program(s) ___________
Ongoing scientific activities at site
YES ___ NO ___
Existing datasets and existing other material (aerial photographs, etc.)
available
YES ___ NO ___
Funding available and/or given potential to generate funding for long-term
investigations/monitoring
YES ___ NO ___
Existing Commitment of responsible scientists to contribute actively to the
SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD program
YES ___ NO ___
Responsible Contact Person available
YES ___ NO ___
4.3 INFORMATION ON THE PROPOSED SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD KEY TEST
SITE
Name of the proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test Site:
Name and email address of the Responsible Contact Person for the proposed
site:
Title of ongoing or recently completed project(s) at this site:
Duration of project(s) (start and (expected) end dates) at this site:
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Description of the proposed SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD Key Test Site / Catchment
Country:
Region:
Geographical coordinates (Lat/Long):
Elevation a.s.l.:
Size of critical test catchment (km2):
If the proposed key test site is a nested catchment within a larger drainage
basin system: Size of this larger drainage basin system:
Climate:
Vegetation cover:
Topography:
Lithology:
Relevant denudative geomorphic processes active in this area:
Relevant storage elements / sinks given in this area:
Human influence in the area:
Research accessibility and infrastructure:
Available funding and potential to generate funding for long-term
investigations/monitoring (ca. 10 years +):
Other descriptions:
Short description of data sets already available from this site
(meteorological data, data on snow cover and ground frost, data on storage
elements, data sets from longer-term geomorphic process monitoring, etc.):
Short description of other material which is available from this site
(aerial photographs, DEM, maps, etc.):
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Short description of instrumentation and methods already used at this
proposed site:
Other comments:
4.4 INFORMATION ON ONGOING AND RECENTLY COMPLETED
PROJECTS AT THE PROPOSED SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD KEY TEST SITE
Project title(s):
Principal investigator(s)
Name(s):
Title:
Postal address:
Phone number:
Fax number:
Email:
Scientific personnel within the project(s):
Collaborators:
Start date of project(s):
(Expected) completion date of project(s):
Funding agency/agencies:
Short summary, project description(s):
Main goals of the project(s):
Key words (5 – 10):
Other comments:
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4.5 INFORMATION ON SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD MEMBER AND MAIN
CONTACT PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROPOSED
SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD KEY TEST SITE
Name of Responsible Main Contact Person:
Title:
Position:
Postal address:
Phone number:
Fax number:
Email:
Webpage:
Scientific field:
Research interests:
Research areas/study sites:
Five key publications of the last 5 years:
Are you willing to send photo(s) of your proposed key test site: Yes: _ No: _
If yes: Please send photo(s) (one or two) in digital form.
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Chapter 5 -
Integration and synthesis of cold environment
sediment flux data
5.1 INTRODUCTION
Sediment budgets generally refer to a conceptual simplification of the
interaction of geomorphologic transfer processes acting upon a given area
and time interval. They provide a conceptual framework for the quantification
and identification of storage elements and linkages within a predefined spatial
and temporal context. Sediment budgets and the methods used to compile
them are almost as numerous as the number of locations they attempt to
describe. Moreover, constructing and representing a sediment budget can
prove to be a truly challenging task, if the purpose is to make it interpretable
by the broader research community. The aim of this Chapter 5 is to propose a
set of unified data tools and parameters for the characterisation of sediment
and nutrient fluxes from cold environment small catchment geosystems.
These parameters are designed as minimum requirements for the compilation
of a database on cold environment small catchment geosystems with varying
levels of detail. They build on the set of practices described in the previous
Chapters and on international standards associated with modelling and
geospatial information.
These recommendations are articulated in three points:
1) The definition of a basic metadata implementation protocol (catchment
summary information),
2) Basic quantifiable parameters common to watersheds (data table) and
3) The representation of sediment budgets in Tables and Diagrams.
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The purpose of the Tables provided below is to facilitate the growth of a cold
environment catchments database to document and monitor contemporary
sediment fluxes. This database shall also serve to explore and estimate the
impact of a variety of climate change scenarios on sediment transfer
processes. The method is principally based on a “static” table (Table 5.1),
consisting of a series of elements characterizing the catchment and used
subsequently to query the database, and a “data” table inventorying sedimentand nutrient-related yearly data for the catchment.
5.2 CATCHMENT SUMMARY INFORMATION
In an effort to promote unified metadata compilation among test sites across
the globe, a set of basic identifying characteristics should be provided for
each catchment. These include basic geographic information, in compliance
with geographic information standards (ISO 19100 series), physiographic and
climatic features of the study area. This summary forms the basis for the
identification of the catchment and its most primary characterization. A
template is provided to the reader in Table 5.1. The summary information in
Table 5.1 is crucial and should be addressed first as it will form the main
identification of the study area.
5.2.1 SEDIFLUX-ID
The SEDIFLUX-ID is the unique identifier used to identify and retrieve the
catchment in the database. It is assigned to the catchment by the database
administrator after the sheets are submitted for the first time. This section
shall therefore not be filled by the principal investigator the first time the
sheets are submitted.
5.2.2 Metadata
•
Catchment name:
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Refers to the common name of the catchment, if possible taken after the
toponymy defined by the national mapping agency.
•
Country:
Refers to the country in which the catchment is located.
•
Principal Investigator:
Refers to the contact person for the catchment, a fortiori, the person who filled
the sheets.
•
Coordinates (outlet):
These coordinates shall be expressed in decimal degrees, with at least three
decimals. Longitudes shall be labelled by appending the “E” or “W” sign,
depending on the hemisphere they refer to. The outlet refers to the point
through which sediments are flowing out of the catchment. In case the
catchment ends in a lake or pond, the coordinates should be taken after the
outlet of the water body.
•
Closest field station or settlement
Self-explanatory. This section shall be filled only if field work undertaken in the
catchment can be directly operated from the field station or settlement.
5.2.3 Climate
•
Mean Annual Air Temperature
The mean annual air temperature (MAT) shall be expressed in °C
•
Mean annual precipitation
Mean annual precipitation shall be expressed in mm. It refers to total
precipitation, including combined snow and rainfall.
•
Mean annual snow precipitation
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Mean annual snow precipitation refers to annual snow precipitation in mm
equivalent water.
•
Mean annual rainfall
Mean annual rainfall is measured in mm. It refers to total rainfall precipitation.
•
Melting degree-days
Cumulative number of annual degree-days above 0 degrees.
5.2.4 Physiography
•
Catchment area
The catchment area is expressed in squared kilometers. An equal-area
projection is recommended for area computation in a GIS. The Lambert
azimuthal equal-area and Albers equal-area conic projections are good
examples.
•
Maximum altitude
Altitude is measured in metres above sea level. The maximum altitude refers
to the point with the highest elevation within or at the border of the catchment.
•
Outlet altitude
Altitude is measured in metres above sea level. The outlet location is defined
in the aforementioned “coordinates (outlet)” category.
5.2.5 Vegetation
•
Vegetation zone
The vegetation zone shall be defined after the CAFF’s, 'Arctic vegetation
zones', (UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library, 2001,
<http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/arctic_vegetation_zones>). One of the five
following zones shall be used to characterize the catchment.
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o
Arctic Desert
o
Mountain Tundra
o
Lowland Tundra
o
Middle Boreal
o
Northern Boreal
These categories are defined in the CAFF habitat report n.5. (CAFF, 2001)
5.2.6 Hydrology
•
Glaciers
Boolean field
Refers to the presence of glaciers in the catchment.
•
Gauging station
Boolean field
Refers to the presence of a gauging station at the outlet of the catchment
5.2.7 Permafrost
•
Permafrost type
This section refers to the type of permafrost (if any) underlying the major part
of the catchment. Permafrost types are divided in absent (a), sporadic (s),
discontinuous (d) and continuous (c). The definition of these terms follows the
recommendations from the International Permafrost Association (IPA) (van
Everdingen, 1998).
o
Continuous permafrost: Permafrost occurring
everywhere beneath the exposed land surface throughout a geographic
region with the exception of widely scattered sites, such as newly
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deposited unconsolidated sediments, where the climate has just begun
to impose its influence on the thermal regime of the ground, causing the
development of continuous permafrost.
Discontinuous permafrost: Permafrost occurring in
o
some areas beneath the exposed land surface throughout a geographic
region where other areas are free of permafrost.
Sporadic permafrost: Permafrost underlying 10 to
o
35 percent of the exposed land surface.
Absent permafrost: Absence of permafrost.
o
5.2.8 Literature and comments
•
Available literature
In this section is listed the body of relevant literature. A primary reference,
listed first in the table shall be emphasized by the contributor.
•
Comments
Additional comments related to Catchment summary information table only
can be added in this section.
5.3 DATA TABLE
The data table (Table 5.2) is a collection of data related to sediment yield and
corollary parameters in cold environment small catchment geosystems. It
forms the basis for the collection and comparison of data across all network
catchments. The numbers to be reported refer to the quantities at the
catchment outlet.
The data table is two-fold. A few parameters are expressed as “primary”
parameters, while some others are expressed as “secondary” parameters.
The primary parameters are intended to be the common data product for all
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catchments. The secondary parameters are parameters, which, if recorded,
would provide a valuable addition to the primary parameters.
The data table is expandable. The list of parameters is not exhaustive and
other parameters will be included in the table in the future. Likewise,
Parameters presently listed as secondary parameters could become primary
in the future, although it is expected that primary parameters will remain
primary.
The data table is linked to a specific timeframe (e.g., a year or field season),
and, as such, can be filled as many times as different timeframes are
collected. Similarly, it can be used for overlapping, yet different timeframes
(i.e. 20th Century, Holocene, etc.). The Catchment Summary Information table
will however remain the same.
The first focus of SEDIFLUX/SEDIBUD is the quantification and evolution of
contemporary fluxes. Contributors should therefore focus on contemporary
fluxes (i.e. yearly rates). The timeframe of the measurements shall be
indicated in the table as well as the measurement method. Measurement
methods and techniques are indicated in Chapters 2 and 3.
5.3.1 Environmental forcing
•
MAT
Primary parameter
The mean annual air temperature (MAT) shall be expressed in °C
•
Mean Annual precipitation
Primary parameter
Mean annual precipitation shall be expressed in mm. It refers to total
precipitation, including combined snow and rainfall.
•
Mean annual snow precipitation
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Primary parameter
Mean annual snow precipitation refers to annual snow precipitation in mm
equivalent water.
•
Mean annual water precipitation
Primary parameter
Mean annual rainfall is measured in mm. It refers to total rainfall precipitation.
5.3.2 Hydrology
•
Annual discharge
Primary parameter
Annual discharge is the total annual amount of water flowing out at the
catchment outlet. It is expressed in km³.
•
Total sediment yield
Primary parameter
Total sediment yield shall be expressed in Mg (1 Mg = 1000 kg).
•
Suspended sediment
Secondary parameter
Suspended sediment (i.e. soil particles that remain in suspension in water
without contact with the bottom) shall be expressed in Mg.
•
Bedload transport
Secondary parameter
Bedload transport (portion of the total sediment in transport that is carried by
intermittent contact with the streambed by rolling, sliding, and bouncing) shall
be expressed in Mg.
•
Date of first flow
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Secondary parameter
The date of first flow is the earliest day in the investigated year at which
waters start to flow at the catchment outlet. It is labelled as ddmmyyyy in the
data table.
•
Date of last flow
Secondary parameter
The date of late flow is the latest day in the investigated year at which waters
start to flow at the catchment outlet. It is labelled as ddmmyyyy in the data
table.
5.3.3 Sediment budget – contribution of slope processes to the
overall sediment yield
The goal of this subsection of Table 5.2 is to quantify the respective
contribution of different denudative slope processes in the annual sediment
yield at the outlet. A series of generic slope processes are listed in this
subsection and must be labelled with a percentage corresponding to their
contribution to the sediment yield.
If a slope process or a category of slope processes is thought not to have
contributed to the sediment yield at the catchment outlet during the recorded
period, the field should be left blank.
The following definitions are mostly taken taken after the Terrain classification
system for British Columbia (1976) and the multi-language permafrost
glossary (van Everdingen, 1998).
•
Weathering (mechanical and chemical)
Secondary parameter
Weathering is the physical disintegration and chemical decomposition of
rocks, minerals, and immature soils at or near the Earth's surface. Physical,
chemical, and biological processes induced or modified by wind, water, and
climate cause the changes. The contribution of sediment by weathering to the
total sediment yield is expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
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Creep, slopewash, rill erosion and solifluction
Secondary parameter
Creep is the imperceptibly slow, more or less continuous, downward and
outward movement of soil or rock on slopes. Slopewash is the action of water
from rain or melted snow carrying (washing) soil down a slope. Rill erosion is
the removal of soil by concentrated water running through little streamlets, or
headcuts. Solifluction is s slow downslope flow of saturated unfrozen earth
materials (one component of solifluction can be the creep of frozen ground).
The contribution of sediment by these processes to the total sediment yield is
expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
•
Mud- and debris-flows
Secondary parameter
Mud-flows are a form of mass movement where fine textured sediments and
soil mix with water to create a liquid flow Debris-flows are a type of mass
movement where there is a downslope flow of a saturated mass of soil,
sediment, and rock debris.
The contribution of sediment by mud- and debris-flows to the total sediment
yield is expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
•
Slides and slumps
Secondary parameter
A slide is a mass of sediment/rock that sticks together as a coherent block
and travels down slope along a tilted plane or surface of weakness. Slumps
are types of slides wherein downward rotation of rock or regolith occurs along
a concave-upward curved surface (rotational slides).
The contribution of sediment by slides and slumps to the total sediment yield
is expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
•
Rock- and boulder-fall
Secondary parameter
Rock-falls or boulder-falls occur when a piece of rock on a steep slope
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becomes dislodged and falls down the slope.
The contribution of sediment by rock- and boulder-fall to the total sediment
yield is expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
•
Streambank erosion
Secondary parameter
Streambank erosion is a loss of ground in the banks of a stream due to
mechanical erosion (and thermoerosion in the presence of permafrost and/or
ice).
The contribution of sediment by streambank erosion to the total sediment
yield is expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
•
Snow avalanches, slush flows
Secondary parameter
A snow avalanche is a massive slide of snow down a slope. Slush flows refer
to the movement of water saturated snow downhill.
The contribution of sediment by snow avalanches and slush flows to the total
sediment yield is expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
•
Eolian erosion (deflation)
Secondary parameter
Eolian erosion is erosion due to wind activity.
The contribution of sediment by eolian erosion to the total sediment yield is
expressed in Table 5.2 in %.
5.3.4 Solutes
•
Annual solute yield
Primary parameter
The annual solute yield refers to the total amount of solute released annually
at the catchment outlet. Solutes refer to the substance present in a solution in
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the smaller amount. Water is here considered the solvent even in
concentrated solutions with water molecules in the minority. The annual solute
yield is expressed in Table 5.2 in g/year.
•
Annual atmospheric solute input
Secondary parameter
The annual atmospheric solute input refers to the total amount of solutes from
atmospheric origin captured annually by the catchment. For a definition of
solute, see “Annual solute yield”. The annual atmospheric solute input is
expressed in Table 5.2 in g/year.
5.3.5 Organic and inorganic matter
•
Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC)
Secondary parameter
DOC is organic material based on Carbon broken down to a size at which it is
“dissolved” into water. DOC is the difference between Total Dissolved Carbon
and DIC. It is expressed in Table 5.2 in kg.
•
Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIC)
Secondary parameter
DIC is the sum of quantities of carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, bicarbonate
anion, and carbonate anion. It is expressed in Table 5.2 in kg.
•
Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON)
Secondary parameter
DON is the difference between Total Dissolved Nitrogen (TDN) and DIN. It is
expressed in Table 5.2 in kg.
•
Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN)
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Secondary parameter
DIN is the sum of quantities of nitrate and ammonia. It is expressed in Table
5.2 in kg.
5.4 DATA QUALITY
In order to facilitate the correction, verification and validation of the datasets
generated using Tables 5.1 and 5.2, a data quality field was added to Table
5.2.
Data quality is expressed using the denominators “low”, “medium” and “high”.
Those are determined using the range of uncertainty around the value input
into the table
”low” refers to a range of uncertainty greater than 20%
”medium” refers to a range of uncertainty between 5 and 20%
”high” refers to a range of uncertainty below or equal to 5%
“low”, “medium” and “high” shall be expressed as “l”, “m”, and “h” in the data
table.
5.5 REPRESENTATION OF OUTPUTS IN TABLES AND DIAGRAMS
The combination of the data elements used to characterise the catchments
can be used to derive an important number of sub-products. The reader can
use the templates to compare sediment budgets and/or create diagrams to
represent sediment fluxes for selected or all catchments. The key identifiers
used in the table can be used to organize the templates into a relational
database.
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Table 5.1 – Catchment summary information
SEDIFLUX ID
Metadata
Catchment name
Country
Principal investigator
Coordinates (outlet), (decimal degrees)
Closest field station or settlement
ITEX site
□
Climate (climatic norms)
CALM site
□
MAT (°C)
Mean Annual precipitation (mm)
Mean annual snow precipitation (mm)
Mean annual water precipitation (mm)
Melting degree-days:
Physiography
Catchment area (km²)
Maximum altitude (masl)
Outlet altitude (masl)
Vegetation
Vegetation zone
Hydrology
Glaciers (yes=y, no=n)
Gauging station (yes=y, no=n)
Permafrost
Permafrost type
continuous=c, discontinuous=d
sporadic=s, absent=a
Literature and comments
Available literature
Please acknowledge one primary reference
Comments
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IPY observatory
□
Table 5.2 – Data table
Only one timeframe can be used when filling a data table.
Primary parameters are mandatory fields.
Primary requirement: ●; Secondary requirement: ○
SEDIFLUX-ID
Parameter
Value
Measurement timeframe
(ddmmyyyy-ddmmyyyy)
Environmental forcing
●
MAT (°C)
●
Mean Annual precipitation (mm)
●
Mean annual snow precipitation (mm)
●
Mean annual water precipitation (mm)
●
Bedload transport (Mg)
Hydrology (outlet)
●
Annual discharge (km³)
●
Annual sediment yield (Mg)
○
Suspended sediment (Mg)
○
Bedload transport (Mg)
○
Date of first flow (ddmmyyyy)
○
Date of last flow (ddmmyyyy)
Sediment budget
○
Weathering (mechanical and chemical) (%)
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Measurement method
Data quality
(l, m, h)
○
Creep, slopewash, rill erosion, solifluction (%)
○
Mud- and debris-flows (%)
○
Slides and slumps (%)
○
Rock- and boulder-fall (%)
○
Streambank erosion (%)
○
Snow avalanches, slush flows (%)
○
Eolian erosion (%)
Solutes
●
Annual solute yield (g/yr)
○
Annual atmospheric solute inputs (g/yr)
Nutrients
○
Dissolved Organic Carbon (Mg)
○
Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (Mg)
○
Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (Mg)
○
Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (Mg)
○
Total dissolved materials (Mg)
Primary requirement:
●; Secondary requirement: ○
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Prospect
This First Edition of the SEDIFLUX Manual will serve as a basis for discussing
and realising quantitative long-term investigations on solute and sediment
fluxes and sediment budgets in selected cold environment catchment
geosystems by applying unified methods and techniques.
Comparable data sets generated in different cold environment key test
catchments in polar and alpine cold environments that follow the
recommendations, guidelines and protocols provided in this SEDIFLUX
Manual allow intersite comparisons and will be added to the Metadata
Database developed within the global I.A.G./A.I.G. SEDIBUD programme
(http://www.geomorph.org/wg/wgsb.html).
The SEDIBUD Metadata Database will be used to investigate effects of
projected climate change on solute fluxes, sediment fluxes and sediment
budgets in sensitive and changing present-day cold environments worldwide.
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PRELIMINARY SELECTION OF SEDIBUD KEY TEST SITES
Kärkevagge field site, Sweden (Photo:
John Dixon)
Moore House field site, UK (Photo:
Jeff Warburton)
Godley Valley field site, New Zealand
(Photo: John F. Orwin)
Musala field site, Bulgaria (Photo: Emil
Gachev)
Kaffiøyra field site, Svalbard (Photo:
Michal Krol)
Tindastöll field site, Iceland (Photo:
Helgi Páll Jónsson)
Antarctica
Joyce and Garwood Glacier, Garwood Valley, proposed by John F. Orwin,
New Zealand ([email protected])
Argentina
Laguna Potrok Aike, proposed by Bernd Zolitschka, Germany ([email protected])
Austria
Pasterze, proposed by Andreas Kellerer- Pirklbauer, Austria
([email protected])
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Bulgaria
Musala area, proposed by Emil M. Gachev, Bulgaria ([email protected])
Canada
Cape Bounty, proposed by Scott F. Lamoureux, Canada
([email protected])
Finland
Kidisjoki, proposed by Achim A. Beylich, Norway ([email protected])
Germany
Reintal, proposed by Karl-Heinz Schmidt, Germany ([email protected])
Greenland
Kangerlussuaq-Strømfjord
Mittivakkat glacier catchment
Zackenberg, proposed by Bent Hasholt, Denmark ([email protected])
Iceland
Botn í Dýrafirði
Reykjarströnd
Tindastöll
Fnjóskadalur-Bleiksmýrardalur, proposed by Armelle Decaulne, France
([email protected])
Hofsjøkull, northern forefield
Austdalur
Hrafndalur, proposed by Achim A. Beylich, Norway ([email protected])
Örravatnrústir, proposed by Þorsteinn Sæmundsson, Iceland ([email protected])
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New Zealand
Douglas Glacier
Godley Valley
Unnamed Valley, proposed by John F. Orwin, New Zealand
([email protected])
Norway
Erdalen
Bødalen
Vinstradalen, proposed by Achim A. Beylich, Norway ([email protected])
Tana catchment, proposed by Jukka Käykhö, Finland ([email protected])
Russia
Mezen, proposed by Achim A. Beylich, Norway ([email protected])
Svalbard
Catchment at Nordaustlandet, suggested by Achim A. Beylich, Norway
([email protected])
Dynamiskbekken
Ebbaelva
Hørbyeelva, proposed by Grzegorz Rachlewicz, Poland ([email protected])
Kaffiøyra, proposed by Michal Krol (supervised by Marek Grzes), Poland
([email protected])
Scottelva, proposed by Josef Superson, Poland
([email protected])
Sweden
Latnjavagge, proposed by Uf Molau, Sweden ([email protected]) and
Achim A. Beylich, Norway ([email protected])
Kärkevagge
Kårsavagge
Låktavagge, suggested by Achim A. Beylich, Norway ([email protected])
United Kingdom
Moor House, proposed by Jeff Warburton, UK ([email protected])
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Spatial distribution of proposed SEDIBUD Key Test Sites
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REFERENCES
Ackroyd, P. 1986. Debris transport by avalanches, Torlesse Range, New
Zealand. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie N.F. 30(1), 1-14.
Addison, K. 1987. Debris flow during intense rainfall in Snowdonia, North Wales:
a preliminary survey. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 12, 561-566.
Ahnert, F. 1970. Functional relationships between denudation, relief and uplift in
large mid-latitude drainage basins. American Journal of Science 268, 243-63.
Åkerman, J. 1996. Slow mass movement and climatic relationships. In:
Anderson M.G. & Brooks S.M. (Eds.), Advances in Hillslope Processes, John
Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England.
Allard, M. 1996. Geomorphological changes and permafrost dynamics: Key
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