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Journal Articles Journal of Hydrology Year : 2022

Applying geochemical and colour properties to quantify sediment sources in a Brazilian semiarid ephemeral river system

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Abstract

The Brazilian semiarid is the most densely populated dry region in the world. Although climate change projections underline the need for the creation of integrated strategies to protect water resources in the semiarid, sediment source apportionment data remain scant for this environment. Accordingly, we evaluated sediment source contributions in one of the most relevant Brazilian semiarid catchments by combining geochemical and colour tracer properties. In doing so, we explored the applicability of colour tracers as a low-cost alternative to the use of time-consuming and costly properties, such as geochemical tracers. Two source classification schemes were used based on environmentally contrasting regions within the catchment (upper, middle and lower catchment parts) and land use (Caatinga biome-natural vegetation, unpaved roads, and channel banks). Suspended sediments (SS) and bed sediments (BS) were used as target sediment. A total of 660 individual source material samples were collected and composited. Geochemical and colour tracers were measured on the source and target sediment samples and used as potential fingerprints to discriminate and quantify the sediment source contributions. The geochemical tracers provided weak source discrimination based on land use. However, combining geochemical and colour tracers improved the final outputs. Using the MixSIAR model, the lower catchment contributed more sediment than the other regional sources. The Caatinga (SS = 49%; BS = 47%) contributed more sediment than channel banks (SS = 35%; BS = 39%). Overall, our results suggest that the recovery and conservation of the Caatinga vegetation and the stabilization of channel banks, especially in the lower catchment part, are critical for improving sediment supply control in the semiarid study basin. More studies are needed to evaluate the conservative behaviour of colour tracers in ephemeral rivers.
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cea-03758934 , version 1 (23-08-2022)

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Rennan Cabral Nascimento, Angelo Jamil Maia, Ygor Jacques Agra Bezerra da Silva, Fábio Farias Amorim, Clístenes Williams Araújo Do Nascimento, et al.. Applying geochemical and colour properties to quantify sediment sources in a Brazilian semiarid ephemeral river system. Journal of Hydrology, 2022, 613 (Part A), pp.128360. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.128360⟩. ⟨cea-03758934⟩
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