The Unified Gravel-Sand (TUGS) Model: simulating sediment transport and gravel/sand grain size distributions in gravel-bedded rivers

Water Resources Research (Impact Factor: 3.15). 01/2007; 43. DOI: 10.1029/2006WR005330

ABSTRACT 1] This paper presents The Unified Gravel-Sand (TUGS) model that simulates the transport, erosion, and deposition of both gravel and sand. TUGS model employs the surface-based bed load equation of Wilcock and Crowe (2003) and links grain size distributions in the bed load, surface layer, and subsurface with the gravel transfer function of Hoey and Ferguson (1994) and Toro-Escobar et al. (1996), a hypothetical sand transfer function, and hypothetical functions for sand entrainment/infiltration from/into the subsurface. The model is capable of exploring the dynamics of grain size distributions, including the fractions of sand in sediment deposits and on the channel bed surface, and is potentially useful in exploring gravel-sand transitions and reservoir sedimentation processes. Simulation of three sets of large-scale flume experiments indicates that the model, with minor adjustment to the Wilcock-Crowe equation, excellently reproduced bed profile and grain size distributions of the sediment deposits, including the fractions of sand within the deposits. Simulation of a flushing flow experiment indicated that the sand entrainment function is potentially capable of simulating the short-term processes such as flushing flow events.

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    ABSTRACT: Bed load samples from four locations in the Trinity River of northern California are analyzed to evaluate the performance of the Wilcock-Crowe bed load transport equations for predicting fractional bed load transport rates. Bed surface particles become smaller and the fraction of sand on the bed increases with distance downstream from Lewiston Dam. The dimensionless reference shear stress for the mean bed particle size (τ*rm) is largest near the dam, but varies relatively little between the more downstream locations. The relation between τ*rm and the reference shear stresses for other size fractions is constant across all locations. Total bed load transport rates predicted with the Wilcock-Crowe equations are within a factor of 2 of sampled transport rates for 68% of all samples. The Wilcock-Crowe equations nonetheless consistently under-predict the transport of particles larger than 128 mm, frequently by more than an order of magnitude. Accurate prediction of the transport rates of the largest particles is important for models in which the evolution of the surface grain size distribution determines subsequent bed load transport rates. Values of τ*rm estimated from bed load samples are up to 50% larger than those predicted with the Wilcock-Crowe equations, and sampled bed load transport approximates equal mobility across a wider range of grain sizes than is implied by the equations. Modifications to the Wilcock-Crowe equation for determining τ*rm and the hiding function used to scale τ*rm to other grain size fractions are proposed to achieve the best fit to observed bed load transport in the Trinity River.
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    ABSTRACT: A one-dimensional sediment transport model (TUGS) and a climate-driven hydrological model (HydroTrend) are used to predict changes to the sediment transport regime of the Waipaoa River that may occur in response to forecast 21st Century variations in climate. Climate change may reduce the mean flow in the Waipaoa River at Matawhero by an average of 13% in the 2030s and 18% in the 2080s. In the 2030s, the maximum simulated change in the mean annual suspended sediment discharge of ± 1 Mt y− 1 may be difficult to discern because of the large variation in the contemporary suspended sediment load (13.4 ± 7.3 Mt y− 1). Depending on the climate change scenario, in the 2080s the suspended sediment discharge may either decline by 1 Mt y− 1 or increase by 1.9 ± 1.1 Mt y− 1. Adverse impacts have the potential to be offset or ameliorated by a modest (35%, ~ 12000 ha) increase in forest cover across the basin headwaters. Size-selective transport and deposition throughout the lower reaches of the Waipaoa River currently limit the amount of bed load exported at the coast to 10.2 ± 24.3 Kt y− 1. In the 2030s this may decline to 6.3 ± 16.1 Kt y− 1, but in the 2080s it may rise to 9.4 ± 20.1 Kt y− 1 as aggradation reduces the amount of accommodation space and modifies the long profile of the simulated river. The bed in the lower 27 km of the river could aggrade by an average of 0.31 m in the 2030s, and 0.85 m in the 2080s. This is likely to be the most costly consequence 21st Century climate change, because rising bed levels have the potential to cause a loss of capacity throughout 75% of the Waipaoa River flood control scheme.
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