Spatio-temporal variability of bedload transport rate: Analysis and 2D modelling approach

Helmut Habersack, Hugo Seitz, Jonathan B. Laronne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Field measurements to calibrate numerical bedload formulae are largely missing. Measurements using a Large Helley-Smith sampler were performed over a period of five years in the large Alpine Drau River, Austria. Our results reveal the high spatio-temporal variability of bedload transport rates. Commonly used bedload predictors poorly describe measured transport rates. Temporal and localised cross-sectional variation in bedload transport rates are observed in short time frames. To obtain significant mean values, the measurement period has to be extended to cover the existing bedload transport periodicity. The discrepancy between bedload transport measurements and simulation is partially explained by local hydraulic variations. The results can be improved, particularly for verticals where most of the bedload occurs, by relating measured transport rates to local hydraulic parameters. The incorporation of local cross-sectional parameters demonstrates the utility of 2D bedload models and their greater predictive power over similar 1D models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
Number of pages13
JournalGeodinamica Acta
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Bedload transport
  • Gravel-bed river
  • River morphology
  • Sediment discharge
  • Spatio-temporal variability


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