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Sediment Transport Modeling: Kara Scheu Published in Water Resources Research

water resources research

Scalar transport from a river plume over varying ambient stratification conditions and over time. The ambient stratification impacts the ultimate extent of sediment transport.

Kara Scheu, Ph.D., of Integral Consulting Inc., is the lead author of Modeling Sedimentation Dynamics of Sediment-Laden River Intrusions in a Rotationally-Influenced, Stratified Lake, recently published in the journal Water Resources Research. Dr. Scheu, along with co-authors from Stanford University, have developed a framework for predicting the extent of sediment (and associated constituents) transport from river plumes in a large lake (Lake Maggiore, Italy). River plumes are often the dominant source of potentially harmful constituents such as contaminants or nutrients into a natural environment. The fate of these constituents is, therefore, critical to understanding the resulting impact on an ecosystem.

To address this important question, Dr. Scheu collected hydrodynamic and sediment transport measurements and developed a high-fidelity, 3-dimensional, hydrodynamic and sediment transport model. The model was validated over five observed river plume flood events and used to evaluate the extent of sediment transport within a large lake over a wide range of realistic conditions. The authors were able to estimate the extent of sediment transport within a complex system using only a priori known information regarding the river flow rate, ambient conditions, and sediment settling speed. The insight gained from this study allows for better prediction of sediment transport in a lake system using parameters that are easily measured using relatively low-cost instrumentation.

Additional coauthors of the paper are O. Fringer, S. Monismith, and D. Fong of Stanford University.

View abstract.

Scheu, K.R., D. Fong, S. Monismith, and O. Fringer. 2018. Modeling sedimentation dynamics of sediment-laden river intrusions in a rotationally-influenced, stratified lake. Water Resources Research. DOI: 10.1029/2017WR021533

For more information, contact Dr. Scheu at

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