Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
30 Jun 1999
30 Jun 1999

A new approach for estimation suspended sediment yield

R. Lidén

Abstract. A semi-distributed conceptual model, HBV-SED, for estimation of total suspended sediment concentration and yield at the outlet of a catchment was developed and tested through a case study. The base of the suspended sediment model is a dynamic hydrological model, which produces daily series of areal runoff and rainfall for each sub-basin as input to the sediment routine. A lumped measure of available sediment is accumulated continuously based on a linear relationship between log-transformed values of rainfall and erosion, while discharge of suspended sediment at the sub-basin outlet is dependent on runoff and amount of stored available sediment. Four model parameter are empirically determined through calibration against observed records of suspended sediment concentration.
The model was applied to a 200 km2 catchment with high altitude differences in the tropical parts of Bolivia, where recorded suspended sediment concentrations were available during a two-year period. 10,000 parameter sets were generated through a Monte Carlo procedure to evaluate the parameter sensitivity and interdependence. The predictability of the model was assessed through dividing the data record into a calibration and an independent period for which the model was validated and compared to the sediment rating curve technique.
The results showed that the slope coefficients of the log-transformed model equations for accumulation and release were much stronger than the intercept coefficients. Despite and existing interdependence between the model parameters, the HBV-SED model gave clearly better results than the sediment rating curve technique for the validation period, indication that the supply-based approached has a promising future as a tool for basic engineering applications.