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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Rob Ferguson

Verhaar, P.M., Biron, P.M., Ferguson, R.I. & Hoey, T.B. (2008). A modified morphodynamic model for investigating the response of rivers to short-term climate change. Geomorphology 101(4): 674-682.

Author(s) from Durham


Near-future climate change will affect the discharge and base level of rivers and thus cause channel changes. The nature and pace of such changes can be simulated using morphodynamic models. As part of an investigation of how the changing hydrology of the St-Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada, will affect its tributaries we have made additions and modifications to a one-dimensional morphodynamic model developed for gravel-bed rivers (SEDROUT). The changes allow simulation of sand-bed rivers, variable discharge, downstream water level fluctuations, and flow and sediment routing in channels with islands. A revised formulation for calculating the grain size distributions of the surface and subsurface material is presented to allow for alternating sedimentation and erosion. We test the enhanced model using small-scale simulations and present-day conditions in four tributaries of the St-Lawrence River. The model is calibrated and validated for the tributaries and the capability to simulate river morphology over a 100-year period is tested. Good validation agreement on water level, cross-sectional mean velocity, and sediment transport rate is obtained for the four tributaries of the St-Lawrence River. With these modifications, modelling a very wide range of river morphodynamic problems is now possible.