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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Earth Surf. Dynam., 3, 15-34, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Jan 2015
sedFlow – a tool for simulating fractional bedload transport and longitudinal profile evolution in mountain streams
F. U. M. Heimann1,2, D. Rickenmann1, J. M. Turowski1,3, and J. W. Kirchner1,2 1WSL Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
2Department of Environmental System Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
3Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. Especially in mountainous environments, the prediction of sediment dynamics is important for managing natural hazards, assessing in-stream habitats and understanding geomorphic evolution. We present the new modelling tool {sedFlow} for simulating fractional bedload transport dynamics in mountain streams. sedFlow is a one-dimensional model that aims to realistically reproduce the total transport volumes and overall morphodynamic changes resulting from sediment transport events such as major floods. The model is intended for temporal scales from the individual event (several hours to few days) up to longer-term evolution of stream channels (several years). The envisaged spatial scale covers complete catchments at a spatial discretisation of several tens of metres to a few hundreds of metres. sedFlow can deal with the effects of streambeds that slope uphill in a downstream direction and uses recently proposed and tested approaches for quantifying macro-roughness effects in steep channels. sedFlow offers different options for bedload transport equations, flow-resistance relationships and other elements which can be selected to fit the current application in a particular catchment. Local grain-size distributions are dynamically adjusted according to the transport dynamics of each grain-size fraction. sedFlow features fast calculations and straightforward pre- and postprocessing of simulation data. The high simulation speed allows for simulations of several years, which can be used, e.g., to assess the long-term impact of river engineering works or climate change effects. In combination with the straightforward pre- and postprocessing, the fast calculations facilitate efficient workflows for the simulation of individual flood events, because the modeller gets the immediate results as direct feedback to the selected parameter inputs. The model is provided together with its complete source code free of charge under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) ( Examples of the application of sedFlow are given in a companion article by Heimann et al. (2015).

Citation: Heimann, F. U. M., Rickenmann, D., Turowski, J. M., and Kirchner, J. W.: sedFlow – a tool for simulating fractional bedload transport and longitudinal profile evolution in mountain streams, Earth Surf. Dynam., 3, 15-34,, 2015.
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