Climate-scale modelling of suspended sediment load in an Alpine catchment debris flow (Rio Cordon-northeastern Italy)

Diodato, N. and Mao, Luca and Borrelli, P. and Panagos, P. and Fiorillo, F. and Bellocchi, G. (2018) Climate-scale modelling of suspended sediment load in an Alpine catchment debris flow (Rio Cordon-northeastern Italy). Geomorphology, 309 . pp. 20-28. ISSN 0169555X

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Abstract

Pulsing storms and prolonged rainfall can drive hydrological damaging events in mountain regions with soil erosion and debris flow in river catchments. The paper presents a parsimonious model for estimating climate forcing on sediment loads in an Alpine catchment (Rio Cordon, northeastern Italian Alps). Hydroclimatic forcing was interpreted by the novel CliSMSSL (Climate-Scale Modelling of Suspended Sediment Load) model to estimate annual sediment loads. We used annual data on suspended-solid loads monitored at an experimental station from 1987 to 2001 and on monthly precipitation data. The quality of sediment load data was critically examined, and one outlying year was identified and removed from further analyses. This outlier revealed that our model underestimates exceptionally high sediment loads in years characterized by a severe flood event. For all other years, the CliSMSSL performed well, with a determination coefficient (R2) equal to 0.67 and a mean absolute error (MAE) of 129 Mg y−1. The calibrated model for the period 1986–2010 was used to reconstruct sediment loads in the river catchment for historical times when detailed precipitation records are not available. For the period 1810–2010, the model results indicate that the past centuries have been characterized by large interannual to interdecadal fluctuations in the conditions affecting sediment loads. This paper argues that climate-induced erosion processes in Alpine areas and their impact on environment should be given more attention in discussions about climate-driven strategies. Future work should focus on delineating the extents of these findings (e.g., at other catchments of the European Alpine belt) as well as investigating the dynamics for the formation of sediment loads.

Additional Information:cited By 0
Keywords:Hydrological model, Rainstorm, Seasonality, Sediment delivery ratio
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F820 Geomorphology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
ID Code:32770
Deposited On:23 Jul 2018 10:13

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