Channel and floodplain response to recent abrupt climate change: the Tyne basin, Northern England

Rumsby, Barbara T. and Macklin, Mark G. (1994) Channel and floodplain response to recent abrupt climate change: the Tyne basin, Northern England. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 19 (6). pp. 499-515. ISSN 0197-9337

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This paper examines the timing, nature and magnitude of river response in upland, piedmont and lowland reaches of the Tyne basin, northern England, to high-frequency (20–30 year) changes in climate and flood regime since 1700 AD. Over this period fluvial activity has been characterized by alternating phases of river-bed incision and stability coinciding with non-random, decadal-scale fluctuations in flood frequency and hydroclimate that appear to be linked to changes in large-scale upper atmospheric circulation patterns. Episodes of widespread channel bed incision (1760–1799, 1875–1894, 1955–1969) result from a higher frequency of large floods (> 20 year return period) and cool, wet climate under meridional circulation regimes. Phases of more moderate floods (5–20 year return period), corresponding to zonal circulation types (1820–1874, 1920–1954), are characterized by enhanced lateral reworking and sediment transfer in upper reaches of the catchment, and channel narrowing and infilling downstream. Rates of fluvial activity are reduced in intermediate periods (1800–1819, 1895–1919) with no dominant circulation regime associated with lower flood frequency and magnitude. The results of this study provide a valuable guide for forecasting probable drainage basin and channel response to future climate change.

Keywords:aggradation, climate change, flood, frequency and magnitude, incision, UK, England, Tyne River
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F840 Physical Geography
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:25152
Deposited On:26 Nov 2016 16:50

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