Channel network morphology and sediment dynamics under alternating periglacial and temperate regimes: a numerical simulation study

P.W. Bogaart, G.E. Tucker, J.J. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The occurrence of permafrost in a highly permeable catchment has a profound effect on runoff generation. The presence of permafrost effectively makes the subsoil impermeable. Therefore, overland flow can be the dominant runoff-generating process during periglacial conditions. The absence of permafrost will promote subsurface drainage and, therefore, saturation excess overland flow can become the dominant runoff-generating process during temperate conditions. In this paper, we present a numerical modelling study in which the effect of alternating climate-related phases of permafrost and nonpermafrost on catchment hydrology and geomorphology is investigated. Special attention is given to the characteristics of the channel network being formed, and the sediment yield from these catchments. We find that channel networks expand under permafrost conditions and contract under nonpermafrost conditions. A change from permafrost to nonpermafrost conditions is characterised by a decrease in sediment yield, while a change towards permafrost conditions is marked by a peak in sediment yield. This peak is explained by the build-up of a reservoir of erodible sediment during the norpermafrost phase. The driving force behind this reservoir build-up may be local base-level change due to tectonic uplift or eustacy. We present a number of experiments, which show the details of this process. The results are in line with existing reconstructions of climate and fluvial dynamics during the Pleistocene in Europe and offer a new explanation to these observations. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-277
JournalGeomorphology
Volume54
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • drainage-basin evolution
  • groundwater systems
  • landscape
  • hillslope
  • runoff
  • europe
  • generation
  • prediction
  • surface
  • rates

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