New paper out in Geomorphology!

Our new paper ‘Fluvial sediment load sensitivity to climate change in cold basins on the Tibetan Plateau: An elasticity approach and the spatial scale effect’ is out in Geomorphology.  Check it out here:,3sl3xFA%7E

The Tibetan Plateau contains the earth’s largest reservoir of glacier-snow-permafrost outside the two polar regions and is sensitive to climate change, yet the impacts climate change and cryosphere degradation on fluvial sediment loads remain largely unknown. This is despite that studying fluvial sediment loads has important implications for the fields of channel migration, water quality assessment, aquatic ecosystems, and hydropower development and maintenance.

In this study, we adapt a sediment elasticity approach to estimate the sediment load sensitivity to climate change based on a long-term high-resolution in-situ observed suspended sediment dataset from a cold river basin on the central Tibetan Plateau and discuss the spatial scale effect. We believe such methods and findings also have wider implications not only for the many other ungauged basins of the Tibetan Plateau, but also for other cold regions, such as the Arctic, Antarctic, and other high mountain areas of the world.

Additionally, this study highlights the following novel points:

  • One degree increase in temperature can increase sediment load by 14-27%, and every 10% increase in precipitation can lead to a 16-24% increase in sediment load
  • Fluvial sediment loads will increase in a warmer and wetter climate, with negative impacts on downstream hydropower development and aquatic ecosystems
  • Fluvial sediment loads tend to respond more rapidly and intensively to climate change in upland smaller basins than larger downstream basins

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