Bedload transport and channel change in gravel-bed rivers
Spatial and temporal variations in channel morphology, near-bed velocity, shear stress, bedload transport rate, pebble tracer movement, and bedload and bed material size distribution were measured in seven different channel patterns in two gravel-bed rivers in the Scottish Highlands (the Dubhaig and Feshie) and a proglacial stream in Norway (the Lyngsdalselva). The results showed that there were discernible links between the channel processes and changes which were consistent for all river types. 169 shear stress estimates from velocity profiles with changing discharge showed that Keller's (1971) velocity-reversal hypothesis holds true in different channel patterns of gravel-bed rivers and can be extended to include subunits of the pool/riffle cycle. At discharges near bankfull there is a decrease in the flow strength and amount of bedload movement from the poolhead down to the pooltail (and then riffle). On a broader scale 72 Helley-Smith bedload samples and the movement of over 3700 pebble tracers showed that the entrainment of different size fractions from heterogeneous bed material is inefficient and is overpredicted by the traditional bedload transport equations. Empirical analyses showed that when the armour is mobile/broken large and small particles have almost equal mobility as first proposed by Parker et al. (1982) and Andrews (1983). However for the majority of flow conditions the armour is static and entrainment is selective to a greater or lesser degree depending on the availability of appropriate-sized sediment at the surface and from bank erosion. The magnitude and direction of flow strength and bedload transport helps to explain the location and mode of channel development as revealed by repeated levelling and mapping. The accelerating convergent/decelerating divergent cells of flow alter the channel morphology in predictable ways. The positions of these cells can change with increasing discharge as the channel becomes generally, rather than locally, competent to move coarse sediment. The rates of bank erosion and volumetric scour and fill decreased from the active multi-braided system through to the stable straight channel type.