Testing a cellular modelling approach to simulating late-Holocene sediment and water transfer from catchment to lake in the French Alps since 1826

  • Welsh K
  • Dearing J
  • Chiverrell R
 et al. 
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This paper describes the application of a hydrogeomorphological numerical model (CAESAR) to simulate, at hourly time steps, changes in the hydrological and sediment regime of the Petit lac d’Annecy catchment. The outputs of the model were validated in three ways. In the short term (~5 years), water discharge outputs were compared against observed instrumental data. Over the longer term, modelled sediment discharge (AD 1825–2005) was compared with proxies for detrital sediment influx (environmental magnetism) and accumulation rates discerned from a 210Pb chronology for the lake sediments.
Finally, spatial validation of the modelled erosion and deposition of sediment was undertaken by comparison with a field and remotely sensed survey of catchment geomorphology. The results suggest that while minor perturbations in forest cover during the last 180 years have partially conditioned the response of the sediment system, the bulk of modelled sediment discharge and particularly the peaks in sediment discharge were controlled by flood duration and magnitude, which in turn is driven by precipitation (storms/floods) and snowmelt. Basin geometry and geomorphology of each sub-catchment (Ire and Tamie) were also important in producing differences in the modelledsediment discharge. In essence, these differences were a function of sediment accommodation space and the ability of each system to store and release sediments. Modelled sediment discharge and χpara (lake sediments) display similar histories, and thus are both interpreted as reflecting variations in detrital sediment supply. Intriguingly the style of modelled sediment discharge from the Ire, a confined mountain torrent, displays a greater similarity to and perhaps
dominates the lake sediment record. These results provide partial validation of the CAESAR model and indicate that perhaps in the future it may be used as an exploratory and predictive tool in determining the impact of changes in climate, meteorology and land use on lake-catchment systems.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cellular modelling
  • Climate change
  • Hydrogeomorphology
  • Lake sediments
  • Land use
  • Reduced complexity model
  • Sediment discharge

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