The Effects of Climate and Land Use Changes on Gravel Riverbeds of Suburban Maryland: A Modeling Study

Pizzuto, J.E., Moglen, G.E., Palmer, M.A., Nelson, K.C., 2008.  Two model scenarios illustrating  the effects of land use and climate change on gravel riverbeds of suburban Maryland, U.S.A. pp. 359-386, in Gravel Bed Rivers 6 – From Process Understanding to River  Restoration, ed. Rinaldi, M., Ergenzinger, P., Habersack, H., Hoey, T., and Piegay, H. Elsevier B.V., Oxford, 817 p.

We used two scenarios to model the influence of changing climate and land use on variables important to stream ecology in gravel-bed rivers of suburban Maryland.  One scenario (Managed Growth No Climate Change) envisions little climate change or new development in our study watershed.  The other scenario (Urban Sprawl/Climate Change) envisions significant suburban development AND hydrologic changes predicted using downscaled results from Global Circulation Modeling.

The results suggest that combined urban sprawl and climate changes will be associated with:

1) increased number of storms

2) greater bed mobility

3) higher suspended sediment concentrations

4) more bedrock exposed on the bed

5) significant changes in the amounts of silt and clay stored in the pores of the active bed
The model domain, a short reach in a 3rd order watershed with a well-developed floodplain and bedrock exposed in the active layer of the gravel bed...


Predicted extent of areal bed mobility for the two scenarios ...


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James Pizzuto

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Professor Geological Sciences


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