Sediment transport modelling in a distributed physically based hydrological catchment model
Abstract. Bedload sediment transport and erosion processes in channels are important components of water induced natural hazards in alpine environments. A raster based distributed hydrological model, TOPKAPI, has been further developed to support continuous simulations of river bed erosion and deposition processes. The hydrological model simulates all relevant components of the water cycle and non-linear reservoir methods are applied for water fluxes in the soil, on the ground surface and in the channel. The sediment transport simulations are performed on a sub-grid level, which allows for a better discretization of the channel geometry, whereas water fluxes are calculated on the grid level in order to be CPU efficient. Several transport equations as well as the effects of an armour layer on the transport threshold discharge are considered. Flow resistance due to macro roughness is also considered. The advantage of this approach is the integrated simulation of the entire basin runoff response combined with hillslope-channel coupled erosion and transport simulation. The comparison with the modelling tool SETRAC demonstrates the reliability of the modelling concept. The devised technique is very fast and of comparable accuracy to the more specialised sediment transport model SETRAC.