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CSDMS 2022: Environmental Extremes and Earthscape Evolution

D-CASCADE: a basin-scale, dynamic model to analyze river sediment (dis)connectivity and its response to anthropic pressures

Marco Tangi

Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Simone Bizzi Politecnico di Milano Italy
Kirstie Fryirs Macquarie University Australia
Andrea Castelletti Politecnico di Milano Italy

Modelling network-scale sediment (dis)connectivity and its response to anthropic pressures provides a foundation understanding of river processes and sediment dynamics that can be used to forecast future trajectories of river form and process.

We present the basin-scale, dynamic sediment connectivity model D-CASCADE, which combines concepts of network modelling with empirical sediment transport formulas to quantify spatiotemporal sediment (dis)connectivity in river networks. The D-CASCADE framework describes sediment connectivity in terms of transfer rate through space and time while accounting for several hydro-morphological and anthropic factors affecting sediment transport. Add-ons can be integrated into D-CASCADE to model local changes in river geomorphology driven by sediment-induced variations in features.

Here, we show an application of D-CASCADE to the well-documented Bega River catchment, NSW, Australia, where major geomorphic changes have occurred in the network post-European settlement (ES) after the 1850s, including widespread channel erosion and sediment mobilization. By introducing historic drivers of change in the correct chronological sequence, the D-CASCADE model successfully reproduced the timing and magnitude of major phases of sediment transport and associated channel adjustments over the last two centuries. With this confidence, we then ran the model to test how well it performs at estimating future trajectories of basin-scale sediment transport and sediment budgets at the river reach scale.

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Of interest for:
  • River Network Modeling Initiative