In July 2007 an intense summer storm resulted in significant activation of the sediment system in the Thinhope Burn, UK. Catchment- and reach-scale morphodynamic modelling is used to investigate the geomorphic work undertaken by Thinhope Burn; comparing this with the more subdued responses shown by its neighbours. Total sediment efflux for Thinhope Burn over the 10 yr period 1998-2007 was 18, 801 m3 four times that of the larger Knar Burn catchment and fifty-four times that of the smaller Glendue Burn catchment. For a discharge of 60 m3s-1, equivalent to the July 2007 Thinhope flood, sediment efflux was 575 m3, 76 m3, and 67 m3 for Thinhope, Glendue and Knar Burns respectively. It is clear that Thinhope Burn undertook significantly more geomorphic work compared to its neighbours. Analysis of the population of shear stress for reach-scale simulations on Thinhope Burn highlighted that the final three simulations (flood peaks of 60, 90, 236 m3s-1) all produced very similar distributions, with no marked increase in the modal shear stress (∼250 Nm-2). This possibly suggests that flows >60 m3s-1 are not able to exert significantly greater energy on the channel boundary, indicating that flows in the region of 60 m3s-1 attain ‘peak’ geomorphic work. It is argued that factors such as strength resistance of the key sediment sources (e.g. paleoberms perched on terraces), structural resistance to flood waves imposed by valley form resistance, location sensitivity and transmission resistance, may all offer explanations for increased geomorphic effectiveness compared with its neighbours. With the expectation of greater rainfall totals in the winter and more extreme summer events in upland areas of the UK, it is clear that attention needs to focus upon the implications of this upon the morphological stability of these areas not least to aid future sustainable flood risk management.
Milan, D. J. (2021). Modelling differential geomorphic effectiveness in neighbouring upland catchments: implications for sediment and flood risk management in a wetter world. Progress in physical geography, https://doi.org/10.1177/03091333211045514