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Annals of Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW. Land Reclamation

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The changing sediment loads of the world's rivers

Des Walling1

Department of Geography, University of Exeter U.K.1

This content is open access.

Citation Information: Annals of Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW. Land Reclamation. Volume 39, Issue , Pages 3–20, ISSN (Online) 2081-9617, ISSN (Print) 1898-8857, DOI: 10.2478/v10060-008-0001-x, September 2008

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The changing sediment loads of the world's rivers

This contribution reviews available evidence of recent changes in the sediment loads of the world's rivers and identifies the key drivers of such change. Land clearance, land use change and other facets of catchment disturbance, soil conservation and sediment control programmes and dam construction are shown to have resulted in significant recent changes in the sediment loads of many world rivers. Some rivers have been characterized by significant increases in sediment load, whereas others show significant decreases. Interpretation of the resulting trends requires consideration of aggregation and storage and buffering effects within a river basin, such that the downstream response of a river may not clearly reflect the changes occurring in the upstream basin and in the loads of tributary rivers.

Zmieniające się ładunki rumowiska rzek świata

W artykule przedstawiono dostępne informacje wskazujące na aktualne zmiany w ładunku rumowiska rzek świata oraz wskazano na podstawowe czynniki powodujące te zmiany. Wycinanie lasów, zmiany użytkowania terenu, a także inne działania związane zarówno z degradacją, jak i ochroną gruntów, oraz programy redukcji erozji gleb i budowa zapór, znacząco wpływają na ładunki rumowiska wielu rzek świata. Niektóre rzeki charakteryzują się znaczącym wzrostem ilości rumowiska, podczas gdy inne wskazują na znaczący ich spadek. Interpretacja wynikowych trendów wymaga rozważenia czynników mających cechy oddziaływania zagregowanego, opóźnionego i buforującego z całej zlewni, jako że informacje z ujściowych odcinków rzek nie w pełni odzwierciedlają zmiany zachodzące w górnej części rzeki i w jej dopływach.

Keywords: Suspended sediment loads; trends; world rivers; anthropogenic impacts; reservoir trapping; buffering effects; global land-ocean sediment transfer

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