Estimating sand bed load in rivers by tracking dunes: a comparison of methods based on bed elevation time series

Leary, Kate C. P.; Buscombe, Daniel

Quantifying bed-load transport is paramount to the effective management of rivers with sand or gravel-dominated bed material. However, a practical and scalable field methodology for reliably estimating bed load remains elusive. A popular approach involves calculating transport from the geometry and celerity of migrating bedforms, extracted from time series of bed elevation profiles (BEPs) acquired using echo sounders. There are various echo sounder sampling methodologies to extract bed elevation profiles. Using two sets of repeat multibeam sonar surveys with high spatiotemporal resolution and coverage, we compute bed load using three field techniques (one actual and two simulated) for acquiring BEPs: repeat multibeam, single-beam, and multiple single-beam sonar. Significant differences in flux arise between repeat multibeam and single-beam sonar. Multibeam and multiple single-beam sonar systems can potentially yield comparable results, but the latter relies on knowledge of bedform geometries and flow that collectively inform optimal beam spacing and sampling rate. These results serve as a guide for design of optimal sampling and for comparing transport estimates from different sonar configurations.

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Leary, Kate C. P. / Buscombe, Daniel: Estimating sand bed load in rivers by tracking dunes: a comparison of methods based on bed elevation time series. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Kate C. P. Leary

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