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Climate control on continental erosion: a stochastic modelling approach


Climate variability and change are first order controls on continental erosion. In order to study the erosional and topographic response of river catchments to climate forcing, a stochastic surface process model will be driven by high-resolution input from general circulation and regional climate models. Emphasizing the role of extreme events, the impact of known and modelled magnitude-frequency distributions of meteorological events upon sediment routing systems will be constrained. The transient dynamics of climatically perturbed landscapes will be investigated with special attention for the dependency of response time upon erosion-transport processes and catchments size. Results will be used to constrain an investigation of the erosional response to climate change. Time series of weather data from global and regional climate models will be used to drive simulations-of the Late Cenozoic evolution of sediment fluxes from tectonically quiescent and active regions represented by Europe and Taiwan, respectively. Simulation output will be calibrated against known fluxes from present catchments and the stratigraphic and geomorphic records. It is expected that by using the output from climate models to drive a state-of-the-art surface process model important new insights will be gained into the role of climate change in erosional landscape evolution. This study will aid the prediction of future trends in erosion in Europe in the context of changed land use and weather patterns.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


University of Cambridge
Downing Street
CB2 3EQ Cambridge
United Kingdom