Field Calibration of the Saltation-Abrasion Model Using Measurements of the Energy Delivered to the Channel Bed

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:45 PM
Jens Martin Turowski1,2, Carlos R Wyss2,3 and Alexander R Beer2, (1)GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany, (2)WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Birmensdorf, Switzerland, (3)ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
The saltation-abrasion model (SAM) is one of the highest-developed process models for fluvial bedrock erosion, describing bedrock erosion due to the impact of saltating bedload particles. The fundamental assumption in the model is a proportionality of the erosion rate and the energy delivered to the channel bed by these impacts. So far, the SAM has been calibrated on laboratory data, but field tests are rare. Here, we exploit the availability of high-quality field data at the Erlenbach bedload observatory to test and calibrate the SAM. The Erlenbach is a small, steep stream in the Swiss Prealps that hosts a well-instrumented observatory for bedload transport and erosion. Bedload samples can be taken during floods with automatic basket samplers and bedload transport rates are measured continuously with Swiss plate geophones, a surrogate method for bedload monitoring. The geophone plates can also be used to measure the energy transferred to the bed by passingbedload. Thus, we can calibrate the SAM by exploiting independent data on particle impacts, the energy they transfer to the bed, and bedload samples including grain size distributions. We find that the dimensionless pre-factor to the model is dependent on grain size. Predictions of bedrock erosion can be compared to spatial erosion data obtained from successive scans of bedrock slabs installed in the channel bed immediately upstream of the plate geophones.