Reliable estimates of the streamwide bed load discharge obtained using sampling devices are dependent upon good at-a-point knowledge across the full width of the channel. Using field data and information derived from a model that describes the geometric features of a dune train in terms of a spatial process observed at a fixed point in time, we show that sampling errors decrease as the number of samples collected increases, and the number of traverses of the channel over which the samples are collected increases. It also is preferable that bed load sampling be conducted at a pace which allows a number of bed forms to pass through the sampling cross section. The situations we analyze and simulate pertain to moderate transport conditions in small rivers. In such circumstances, bed load sampling schemes typically should involve four or five traverses of a river, and the collection of 20-40 samples at a rate of five or six samples per hour. By ensuring that spatial and temporal variability in the transport process is accounted for, such a sampling design reduces both random and systematic errors and hence minimizes the total error involved in the sampling process.
Additional publication details
Evaluation of process errors in bed load sampling using a dune model