Brown, Anthony G., Christopher, Christopher, Erkens, Gilles, Fuchs, Markus, Hoffman, Thomas, Macaire, Jean-Jacques, Moldenhauer, Klaus-Martin and Walling, Des E.
From sedimentary records to sediment budgets: multiple approaches to catchment sediment flux. [In special issue: Climate and long-term human impact on sediment fluxes in watershed systems]
Geomorphology, 108, (1-2), . (doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.01.021).
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This paper reviews the traditional approach to sediment budget studies in geomorphology, new approaches and more specifically the potential impact of new methodological advances. Each component of the budget is discussed including the spatial and volumetric estimations of erosion, deposition and storage and the precision and accuracy of flux rate estimation. Examples are used from recent work in Germany, The Netherlands and the UK and include the pedogenic approach to erosion estimation, remote sensing (LiDAR), geophysics and sediment-based dating techniques for flux rate estimation. The precision and accuracy of catchment sediment flux estimates based upon sediment storage is not only dependant upon volumetric accuracy but also on the precision and accuracy of sediment dating. In this area there has been a revolution with direct sediment dating techniques (TL, OSL, ESR) freeing budget studies from the constraints and biases of radiocarbon. Of particular importance is the use of cosmogenic nuclides for dating but which can also be used to derive long-term erosion rates but only using a steady state assumption. Finally a tentative initial application of the sediment budget approach to Pleistocene terrace staircase in unglaciated basins is discussed. It is argued that only now do we have the techniques available to be able to produce accurate sediment budget estimations at spatial scales greater than that of zero order basins and over time periods greater than that covered by direct observations.
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