Improving predictions of fine particle immobilization in streams

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Fine particles are critical to stream ecosystem functioning, influencing in-stream processes from pathogen transmission to carbon cycling, all of which depend on particle immobilization. However, our ability to predict particle immobilization is limited by: (1) availability of combined solute and particle tracer data and (2) identifying parameters that appropriately represent fine particle immobilization, due to the myriad of objective functions and model formulations. We found that improved predictions of the full distribution of possible fine particle residence times requires using an objective function that assesses both the peak and tailing together with solute tracers to constrain in-stream transport processes. The representation of immobilization processes was significantly improved when solute tracer data were combined with a particle model, starkly contrasting the common assumption that fine particles transport as washload. We develop a clear strategy for improving fine particle transport predictions, reshaping the potential role of fine particles in water quality management.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Improving predictions of fine particle immobilization in streams
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1029/2019GL085849
Volume 46
Issue 23
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description 9 p.
First page 13,853
Last page 13,861
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