Sand-bed rivers dominate the Earth's drainage, yet we are unable to predict or explain their morphology and how they respond to environmental change. Why is this? A pivotal unresolved issue is: how does the transition between bedload and suspension-dominated sand transport regimes control the large-scale morphodynamics and patterning of sand-bed rivers? If we can develop and verify realistic models of sediment transport dynamics in sand-bed rivers, it will become possible to answer this question, and construct numerical models that can be transferred across diverse environments and used to predict river evolution.
South Saskatchewan River
The South Saskatchewan River in western Canada is an ideal location to undertake this project. The river has good baseline data and its clear water column enables an unprecedented view of active bedform morphodynamics.