Original paper

Temporal variations of suspended sediment transport in three small catchments of the Basque Country

Zabaleta, Ane; Antigüedad, Iñaki


This paper reports the temporal variations of suspended sediment transport in three catchments (from 4.8 up to 48 km2) of the Basque Country, under a humid and temperate climate. Catchments are mostly under forest land-use, although management practices are significantly different. Suspended sediment transport was studied from 2003-2005. The temporal distribution of suspended sediment transport and runoff were analyzed. Results showed that the contribution of single events to the suspended sediment load was higher in Añarbe (the largest one) because in larger catchments significant source areas are only eroded during the most extreme events. Therefore, in Añarbe 50 % of the sediment was exported in 2 days (0.27 % of the study period) and the 90 % in 41 days (5.6 % of the time). Meanwhile, in Aixola and Barrendiola, the 50 % of the sediment loads were registered in 12-14 days respectively (around 2 % of the time) and the 90 % in around 95-127 days respectively (13-17 %). Differences between Aixola and Barrendiola were more significant in suspended sediment yield values, rather than in temporal distribution caused by the different land-uses and management practices. Thus, the sediment yield in Aixola (woodland) was twice of that registered in Barrendiola (forest).


temporal sediment variationsuspended sediment transportmultiple regressioncatchment sizebasque country