21 Jun 2023
 | 21 Jun 2023

Bedload transport fluctuations, flow conditions and disequilibrium ratio at the Swiss Erlenbach stream: results from 27 years of high-resolution temporal measurements

Dieter Rickenmann

Abstract. Based on measurements with the Swiss plate Geophone system with a 1 min temporal resolution, bedload transport fluctuations were analysed as a function of the flow and transport conditions in the Swiss Erlenbach stream. The study confirms a finding from an earlier event-based analysis of the same bedload transport data, which showed that the disequilibrium ratio of measured to calculated transport rate influences the sediment transport behaviour. To analyse the transport conditions, the following elements were examined to characterize bedload transport fluctuations: (i) the autocorrelation coefficient of bedload transport rates as a function of lag time, (ii) the critical discharge at the begin and end of a transport event, (iii) the coefficient of variation of the bedload transport rates, and (iv) a hysteresis index as a measure of the strength of clockwise or anticlockwise transport behaviour. This study underlines that above average disequilibrium conditions, which are associated with a larger sediment availability on the streambed, have generally a stronger effect on subsequent transport conditions than below average disequilibrium conditions, which are associated with comparatively less sediment availability on the streambed. The findings highlight the important roles of the sediment availability on the streambed, the disequilibrium ratio, and the hydraulic forcing in view of a better understanding of the bedload transport fluctuations in a steep mountain stream.

Dieter Rickenmann

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-964', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-964', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Sep 2023

Dieter Rickenmann


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Latest update: 03 Oct 2023
Short summary
Field measurements of the bedload flux with a high temporal resolution in a steep mountain stream were used to analyse the transport fluctuations as a function of the flow conditions. The disequilibrium ratio, a proxy for the solid particle concentration in the flow, was found to influence the sediment transport behaviour, and above average disequilibrium conditions – associated with a larger sediment availability on the streambed – substantially affect subsequent transport conditions.