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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. (2011). Implications of climate change in the twenty-first century for simulated magnitude and frequency of bed-material transport in tributaries of the Saint-Lawrence River. Hydrological Processes 25(10): 1558-1573.

Author(s) from Durham


More frequent extreme flood events are likely to occur in many areas in the twenty-first century due to climate change. The impacts of these changes on sediment transport are examined at the event scale using a 1D morphodynamic model (SEDROUT4-M) for three tributaries of the Saint-Lawrence River (Québec, Canada) using daily discharge series generated with a hydrological model (HSAMI) from three global climate models (GCMs). For all tributaries, larger flood events occur in all future scenarios, leading to increases in bed-material transport rates, number of transport events and number of days in the year where sediment transport occurs. The effective and half-load discharges increase under all GCM simulations. Differences in flood timing within the tributaries, with a shift of peak annual discharge from the spring towards the winter, compared to the hydrograph of the Saint-Lawrence River, generate higher sediment transport rates because of increased water surface slope and stream power. Previous research had shown that channel erosion is expected under all GCMs' discharge scenarios. This study shows that, despite lower bed elevations, flood risk is likely to increase as a result of higher flood magnitude, even with falling base level in the Saint-Lawrence River.