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Journal Articles Hydrology Year : 2022

Importance of Flood Samples for Estimating Sediment and Nutrient Loads in Mediterranean Rivers

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Abstract

Protecting the quality of coastal water bodies requires the assessment of contaminant discharge brought by rivers. Numerous methods have been proposed for calculating sediment and nutrient loads. The most widely used and generally recommended are the flow-weighted mean concentration method (FWMC) and the flow duration rating curve method (FDRC). In the Mediterranean basin, the hydrology is characterized by infrequent but very intense rainfall events. The flows taking place during these periods last only a few hours to a few days but can represent the largest part of the annual flow. The loads associated with these events can also account for most of the annual load. A reinforced water-quality monitoring program (especially during floods) was carried out for five years (August 2015–July 2020) on six tributaries of French Mediterranean lagoons. The loads calculated by FWMC and FDRC methods were very different. Total suspended solid loads calculated by FWMC were on average 5.0 times higher than those calculated by FDRC. Similarly, total phosphorus loads were 3.5 times higher and total nitrogen loads were 1.6 times higher. The results show that too many flood samples can lead to considerable overestimation of particulate loads calculated by the FWMC method. Dissolved nutrients, on the other hand, are much less subject to overestimation.
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Dates and versions

hal-03745906 , version 1 (04-08-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Olivier Banton, Sylvie St-Pierre, Hélène Giot, Anaïs Giraud. Importance of Flood Samples for Estimating Sediment and Nutrient Loads in Mediterranean Rivers. Hydrology, 2022, 9 (6), pp.110. ⟨10.3390/hydrology9060110⟩. ⟨hal-03745906⟩
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