Comparing sediment transport in hydraulic models

As part of a JBA Trust funded NERC CASE PhD project, Eleanor Pearson undertook a placement with JBA Trust supervised by Professor Rob Lamb and Dr Barry Hankin. Eleanor investigated whether the outputs from existing flood risk hydraulic models could be used to evaluate the geomorphological impact of a flood.

To do this, the “erodibility” output from each hydraulic model was compared to a similar output (the net change in elevation) from a landscape evolution model.  Landscape evolution models are morphodynamic, and focus more on the geomorphological aspect of a flood event.

Eleanor’s research showed that hydraulic model outputs can be re-used for geomorphological studies, provided the results are also compared with field observations or repeated aerial photography surveys for validation.

The results of this comparison were presented at the British Society of Geomorphology Annual Meeting in the form of a poster at the University of Sheffield on the 9th to 11th September 2019.

In the near future Eleanor is planning to use the added complexity of hydraulic models to help understand some of the measures used in Natural Flood Management.  For example the models could be used to simulate leaky barriers and understand their geomorphological impact. Simulating the complexity of each structure is not currently possible in morphodynamic models. This would provide an understanding that is often not fully acknowledged in Natural Flood Management schemes