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Assessing temporal variability and controlling factors of the sediment budget of a small agricultural catchment in Northern France (the Pommeroye)

  • Patault, Edouard1, 2, 3
  • Alary, Claire1
  • Franke, Christine2
  • Gauthier, Arnaud4
  • Abriak, Nor-Edine1
  • 1 IMT Lille Douai, Univ. Lille, EA 4515 – LGCgE – Civil Engineering and Environmental Department, F-59000 Lille, France
  • 2 MINES ParisTech, PSL Research University, Center of Geosciences, 35 rue Saint-Honoré, 77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France
  • 3 Normandie Univ, Rouen, UNIROUEN, UNICAEN, CNRS, M2C, FED-SCALE, Rouen, France
  • 4 Département des Sciences de la Terre, Université de Lille 1, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
Published Article
Publication Date
Mar 26, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01407
PMID: 30976686
PMCID: PMC6439235
PubMed Central


A high-frequency monitoring station was implemented at the outlet of the small catchment of the Pommeroye (0.54 km2) in Northern France to study erosion by runoff and hydro-sedimentological responses to heavy rainfall events in the context of Quaternary loess deposits. The aim of this experimental work is to assess the temporal variability of sediment yield and to identify the factors controlling the hydro-sedimentary response. To achieve this goal, statistical and hydro-sedimentary dynamic analyses were performed. During two years of monitoring (April 2016–April 2018), 48 flood events were recorded. The specific sediment yield (SSY) is highly variable and was evaluated to 29.4–70 t km-2 yr−1 which is conventional for the study region. Most of the sediment yield was produced in winter (55%) and autumn (42%). Only 3% of SSY were produced during spring and summer periods. According to our results, only 6% of the erosive events are responsible for the transport of more than 40% of the sediment flux recorded at the outlet. This underlines the temporal variability of the hydro-sedimentary production in small agricultural catchments for which most of the hydro-sedimentary flux is produced during a limited number of events. The results of statistical analyses show that the total amount of rainfall and the duration of a rainfall episode are the main controlling factors on the hydro-sedimentary response. Our results also suggest that the rainfall kinetic energy better reflects the sediment detachment, and that the 48 h-antecedent rainfall is not linked to the hydro-sedimentary response.

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