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University of Potsdam (2009)

Measurement and modelling of water and sediment fluxes in meso-scale dryland catchments

Till Konrad Otto Francke

Titre : Measurement and modelling of water and sediment fluxes in meso-scale dryland catchments

Auteur : Till Konrad Otto Francke

Université de soutenance : University of Potsdam,

Grade : Doctor of Natural Sciences (Dr. rer. nat.) in Geoecology 2009

Résumé partiel
Water shortage is a serious threat for many societies worldwide. In drylands, water management measures like the construction of reservoirs are affected by eroded sediments transported in the rivers. Thus, the capability of assessing water and sediment fluxes at the river basin scale is of vital importance to support management decisions and policy making. This subject was addressed by the DFG-funded SESAM-project (Sediment Export from large Semi-Arid catchments : Measurements and Modelling). As a part of this project, this thesis focuses on (1) the development and implementation of an erosion module for a meso-scale catchment model, (2) the development of upscaling and generalization methods for the parameterization of such model, (3) the execution of measurements to obtain data required for the modelling and (4) the application of the model to different study areas and its evaluation. The research was carried out in two meso-scale dryland catchments in NE-Spain : Ribera Salada (200 km²) and Isábena (450 km²). Adressing objective 1, WASA-SED, a spatially semi-distributed model for water and sediment transport at the meso-scale was developed. The model simulates runoff and erosion processes at the hillslope scale, transport processes of suspended and bedload fluxes in the river reaches, and retention and remobilisation processes of sediments in reservoirs. This thesis introduces the model concept, presents current model applications and discusses its capabilities and limitations. Modelling at larger scales faces the dilemma of describing relevant processes while maintaining a manageable demand for input data and computation time. WASA-SED addresses this challenge by employing an innovative catena-based upscaling approach : the landscape is represented by characteristic toposequences. For deriving these toposequences with regard to multiple attributes (eg. topography, soils, vegetation) the LUMP-algorithm (Landscape Unit Mapping Program) was developed and related to objective 2. It incorporates an algorithm to retrieve representative catenas and their attributes, based on a Digital Elevation Model and supplemental spatial data. These catenas are classified to provide the discretization for the WASA-SED model. For objective 3, water and sediment fluxes were monitored at the catchment outlet of the Isábena and some of its sub-catchments. For sediment yield estimation, the intermittent measurements of suspended sediment concentration (SSC) had to be interpolated. This thesis presents a comparison of traditional sediment rating curves (SRCs), generalized linear models (GLMs) and non-parametric regression using Random Forests (RF) and Quantile Regression Forests (QRF). The observed SSCs are highly variable and range over six orders of magnitude. For these data, traditional SRCs performed poorly, as did GLMs, despite including other relevant process variables (e.g. rainfall intensities, discharge characteristics). RF and QRF proved to be very robust and performed favourably for reproducing sediment dynamics.

Mots Clés : erosion , sediment , modelling , Spain , Brazil

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Page publiée le 18 décembre 2015, mise à jour le 1er décembre 2018