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Title: A general power equation for predicting bed load transport rates in gravel bed rivers

Author: Barry, Jeffrey J.; Buffington, John M.; King, John G.;

Date: 2004

Source: Water Resources Research. 40: W10401.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: A variety of formulae has been developed to predict bed load transport in gravel bed rivers, ranging from simple regressions to complex multiparameter formulations. The ability to test these formulae across numerous field sites has, until recently, been hampered by a paucity of bed load transport data for gravel bed rivers. We use 2104 bed load transport observations in 24 gravel bed rivers in Idaho to assess the performance of eight different formulations of four bed load transport equations. Results show substantial differences in performance but no consistent relationship between formula performance and degree of calibration or complexity. However, formulae containing a transport threshold typically exhibit poor performance. Furthermore, we find that the transport data are best described by a simple power function of discharge. From this we propose a new bed load transport equation and identify channel and watershed characteristics that control the exponent and coefficient of the proposed power function. We find that the exponent is principally a factor of supply-related channel armoring (transport capacity in excess of sediment supply), whereas the coefficient is related to drainage area (a surrogate for absolute sediment supply). We evaluate the accuracy of the proposed power function at 17 independent test sites.

Keywords: gravel bed rivers, sediment transport, fluvial geomorphology

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Barry, Jeffrey J.; Buffington, John M.; King, John G. 2004. A general power equation for predicting bed load transport rates in gravel bed rivers. Water Resources Research. 40: W10401.


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