Flow modelling to estimate suspended sediment travel times for two Canadian Deltas
Abstract. The approximate travel times for suspended sediment transport through two multi-channel networks are estimated using flow modelling. The focus is on the movement of high sediment concentrations that travel rapidly downstream. Since suspended sediment transport through river confluences and bifurcation movement is poorly understood, it is assumed that the sediment moves at approximately the average channel velocity during periods of high sediment load movement. Calibration of the flow model is discussed, with an emphasis on the incorporation of cross-section data, that are not referenced to a datum, using a continuous water surface profile. Various flow regimes are examined for the Mackenzie and the Slave River Deltas in the Northwest Territories, Canada, and a significant variation in travel times is illustrated. One set of continuous daily sediment measurements throughout the Mackenzie Delta is used to demonstrate that the travel time estimates are reasonable.
Keywords: suspended sediment; multi-channel river systems; flow modelling; sediment transport