Modeling erosion and sedimentation coupled with hydrological and overland flow processes at the watershed scale



[1] A novel two-dimensional, physically based model of soil erosion and sediment transport coupled to models of hydrological and overland flow processes has been developed. The Hairsine-Rose formulation of erosion and deposition processes is used to account for size-selective sediment transport and differentiate bed material into original and deposited soil layers. The formulation is integrated within the framework of the hydrologic and hydrodynamic model tRIBS-OFM, Triangulated irregular network-based, Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator-Overland Flow Model. The integrated model explicitly couples the hydrodynamic formulation with the advection-dominated transport equations for sediment of multiple particle sizes. To solve the system of equations including both the Saint-Venant and the Hairsine-Rose equations, the finite volume method is employed based on Roe's approximate Riemann solver on an unstructured grid. The formulation yields space-time dynamics of flow, erosion, and sediment transport at fine scale. The integrated model has been successfully verified with analytical solutions and empirical data for two benchmark cases. Sensitivity tests to grid resolution and the number of used particle sizes have been carried out. The model has been validated at the catchment scale for the Lucky Hills watershed located in southeastern Arizona, USA, using 10 events for which catchment-scale streamflow and sediment yield data were available. Since the model is based on physical laws and explicitly uses multiple types of watershed information, satisfactory results were obtained. The spatial output has been analyzed and the driving role of topography in erosion processes has been discussed. It is expected that the integrated formulation of the model has the promise to reduce uncertainties associated with typical parameterizations of flow and erosion processes. A potential for more credible modeling of earth-surface processes is thus anticipated.