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3.7: Variables Involved In Rivers

  • Page ID
    14305
  • Think about the variables that describe the characteristics and behavior of rivers. These fall into the broad categories of flow, sediment, geometry, and other. Here’s a fairly inclusive list of such variables:

    flow:

    cross

    section

    stage

    discharge

    velocity

    turbulence

    sediment:

    bed-material properties

    load

    sediment discharge

    bed configuration

    slope or profile

    base level

    geometry:

    width

    depth

    cross-section shape

    plan pattern

    other:

    chemistry

    biota

    Of these, some can be considered to be independent variables, in the sense that they are imposed on the river and the river has to live with them, and other can be considered to be dependent variables, in the sense that the river adjusts their values in response to the independent or imposed variables.

    Independent variables:

    temperature (almost entirely)

    biota (mostly)

    discharge (entirely)

    sediment discharge (approximately, in the long term)

    base level (entirely)

    chemistry (almost entirely)

    sediment characteristics (partly)

    slope (in the short term but not in the long term)

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