Hysteresis effects of suspended sediment transport in relation to geomorphic conditions and dominant sediment sources in medium and large rivers of the Russian Arctic

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Preliminary analysis of long-term hydrological data shows that sediment dynamics of Russian Arctic rivers is largely affected by hysteresis effects in relation of water discharge to suspended sediment concentration (SSC). The role of large-scale geomorphic and geocryological conditions in sediment transport is still relatively understudied. This research aims to assess the links between hydrogeomorphology and regularities of sediment formation and movement in Russian Arctic rivers. A dataset containing information on measured water discharges and SSC for 27 gauges on 16 medium and large rivers of the Russian Arctic was used in this research. Clockwise hysteresis is typical during spring events, while in summer counterclockwise and ‘figure eight’ curves are widely observed. The results show that the form of the rating curve can be attributed to the dominant sediment source, dominant channel pattern and, to certain extent, to the cross-section position within the river basin. Seasonality in hysteresis effects reflects the role frozen ground dynamic plays in sediment flux formation. Thus, reaction of permafrost landscapes on the widely observed climate shift should lead to significant changes in sediment transfer systems.

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