Testing monsoonal controls on bedrock river incision in the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet with a stochastic-threshold stream power model

Dirk Scherler, Roman A. DiBiase, G. Burch Fisher, Jean Philippe Avouac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

10Be-derived catchment average erosion rates from the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet show different relationships with normalized channel steepness index (ksn), suggesting differences in erosional efficiency of bedrock river incision. We used a threshold stream power model (SPM) combined with a stochastic distribution of discharges to explore the extent to which this observation can be explained by differences in the mean and variability of discharge between the two regions. Based on the analysis of 199 daily discharge records (record lengths 3–45 years; average 18.5 years), we parameterized monsoonal discharge with a weighted sum of two inverse gamma distributions. During both high- and low-flow conditions, annual and interannual discharge variabilities are similarly low in each region. Channel widths for 36 rivers indicate, on average, 25% wider streams in Eastern Tibet than in the Himalaya. Because most catchments with 10Be data are not gauged, we constrained mean annual discharge in these catchments using gridded precipitation data sets that we calibrated to the available discharge records. Comparing 10Be-derived with modeled erosion rates, the stochastic-threshold SPM explains regional differences better than a simple SPM based on drainage area or mean annual runoff. Systematic differences at small ksn values can be reconciled with ksn-dependent erosion thresholds, whereas substantial scatter for high ksn values persists, likely due to methodological limitations. Sensitivity analysis of the stochastic-threshold SPM calibrated to the Himalaya indicates that changes in the duration or strength of summer monsoon precipitation have the largest effect on erosional efficiency, while changes in monsoonal discharge variability have almost no effect. The modeling approach presented in this study can in principle be used to assess the impact of precipitation changes on erosion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1429
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Volume122
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Fingerprint

Tibet
bedrock
rivers
Erosion
Rivers
Catchments
thresholds
China
Testing
river
erosion
testing
catchment
drainage
erosion rate
Runoff
Drainage
Sensitivity analysis
runoff
Himalayan region

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

@article{c2abe74a9ab947f2820925db82a448fa,
title = "Testing monsoonal controls on bedrock river incision in the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet with a stochastic-threshold stream power model",
abstract = "10Be-derived catchment average erosion rates from the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet show different relationships with normalized channel steepness index (ksn), suggesting differences in erosional efficiency of bedrock river incision. We used a threshold stream power model (SPM) combined with a stochastic distribution of discharges to explore the extent to which this observation can be explained by differences in the mean and variability of discharge between the two regions. Based on the analysis of 199 daily discharge records (record lengths 3–45 years; average 18.5 years), we parameterized monsoonal discharge with a weighted sum of two inverse gamma distributions. During both high- and low-flow conditions, annual and interannual discharge variabilities are similarly low in each region. Channel widths for 36 rivers indicate, on average, 25{\%} wider streams in Eastern Tibet than in the Himalaya. Because most catchments with 10Be data are not gauged, we constrained mean annual discharge in these catchments using gridded precipitation data sets that we calibrated to the available discharge records. Comparing 10Be-derived with modeled erosion rates, the stochastic-threshold SPM explains regional differences better than a simple SPM based on drainage area or mean annual runoff. Systematic differences at small ksn values can be reconciled with ksn-dependent erosion thresholds, whereas substantial scatter for high ksn values persists, likely due to methodological limitations. Sensitivity analysis of the stochastic-threshold SPM calibrated to the Himalaya indicates that changes in the duration or strength of summer monsoon precipitation have the largest effect on erosional efficiency, while changes in monsoonal discharge variability have almost no effect. The modeling approach presented in this study can in principle be used to assess the impact of precipitation changes on erosion.",
author = "Dirk Scherler and DiBiase, {Roman A.} and Fisher, {G. Burch} and Avouac, {Jean Philippe}",
year = "2017",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1002/2016JF004011",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "122",
pages = "1389--1429",
journal = "Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres",
issn = "2169-897X",
number = "7",

}

Testing monsoonal controls on bedrock river incision in the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet with a stochastic-threshold stream power model. / Scherler, Dirk; DiBiase, Roman A.; Fisher, G. Burch; Avouac, Jean Philippe.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, Vol. 122, No. 7, 07.2017, p. 1389-1429.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Testing monsoonal controls on bedrock river incision in the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet with a stochastic-threshold stream power model

AU - Scherler, Dirk

AU - DiBiase, Roman A.

AU - Fisher, G. Burch

AU - Avouac, Jean Philippe

PY - 2017/7

Y1 - 2017/7

N2 - 10Be-derived catchment average erosion rates from the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet show different relationships with normalized channel steepness index (ksn), suggesting differences in erosional efficiency of bedrock river incision. We used a threshold stream power model (SPM) combined with a stochastic distribution of discharges to explore the extent to which this observation can be explained by differences in the mean and variability of discharge between the two regions. Based on the analysis of 199 daily discharge records (record lengths 3–45 years; average 18.5 years), we parameterized monsoonal discharge with a weighted sum of two inverse gamma distributions. During both high- and low-flow conditions, annual and interannual discharge variabilities are similarly low in each region. Channel widths for 36 rivers indicate, on average, 25% wider streams in Eastern Tibet than in the Himalaya. Because most catchments with 10Be data are not gauged, we constrained mean annual discharge in these catchments using gridded precipitation data sets that we calibrated to the available discharge records. Comparing 10Be-derived with modeled erosion rates, the stochastic-threshold SPM explains regional differences better than a simple SPM based on drainage area or mean annual runoff. Systematic differences at small ksn values can be reconciled with ksn-dependent erosion thresholds, whereas substantial scatter for high ksn values persists, likely due to methodological limitations. Sensitivity analysis of the stochastic-threshold SPM calibrated to the Himalaya indicates that changes in the duration or strength of summer monsoon precipitation have the largest effect on erosional efficiency, while changes in monsoonal discharge variability have almost no effect. The modeling approach presented in this study can in principle be used to assess the impact of precipitation changes on erosion.

AB - 10Be-derived catchment average erosion rates from the Himalaya and Eastern Tibet show different relationships with normalized channel steepness index (ksn), suggesting differences in erosional efficiency of bedrock river incision. We used a threshold stream power model (SPM) combined with a stochastic distribution of discharges to explore the extent to which this observation can be explained by differences in the mean and variability of discharge between the two regions. Based on the analysis of 199 daily discharge records (record lengths 3–45 years; average 18.5 years), we parameterized monsoonal discharge with a weighted sum of two inverse gamma distributions. During both high- and low-flow conditions, annual and interannual discharge variabilities are similarly low in each region. Channel widths for 36 rivers indicate, on average, 25% wider streams in Eastern Tibet than in the Himalaya. Because most catchments with 10Be data are not gauged, we constrained mean annual discharge in these catchments using gridded precipitation data sets that we calibrated to the available discharge records. Comparing 10Be-derived with modeled erosion rates, the stochastic-threshold SPM explains regional differences better than a simple SPM based on drainage area or mean annual runoff. Systematic differences at small ksn values can be reconciled with ksn-dependent erosion thresholds, whereas substantial scatter for high ksn values persists, likely due to methodological limitations. Sensitivity analysis of the stochastic-threshold SPM calibrated to the Himalaya indicates that changes in the duration or strength of summer monsoon precipitation have the largest effect on erosional efficiency, while changes in monsoonal discharge variability have almost no effect. The modeling approach presented in this study can in principle be used to assess the impact of precipitation changes on erosion.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85026407835&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85026407835&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/2016JF004011

DO - 10.1002/2016JF004011

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85026407835

VL - 122

SP - 1389

EP - 1429

JO - Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

JF - Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

SN - 2169-897X

IS - 7

ER -