Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr Richard Boothroyd

Research interests:

Fluvial geomorphology; ecohydraulics; remote sensing; numerical modelling; flood risk management

Career history:

2019 – Fluvial Geomorphology Research Associate
School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow

2018 – 2019 Lecturer in Physical Geography
Department of Geography, University of Manchester

2017 – 2018 Hydraulic Modeller
Mott MacDonald, Leeds

Active research projects:

Catchment susceptibility to hydrometeorological events: sediment flux and geomorphic change as drivers of flood risk in the Philippines

River morphology results from sediment transport and sedimentation, which are both a consequence of water flow. Episodic variation in natural (e.g. typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes) and anthropogenic (e.g. gravel mining, river bank protection) sediment supply drives changes in riverbed levels and sedimentology. These changes determine channel capacity and flow routing, and thus associated flood risk to people and property. The same factors determine variations in lateral bank erosion rates; elevated rates result in the loss of developed floodplain and the failure of critical infrastructure such as road bridges. Despite the significance of variation in riverbed levels and channel position for flood risk, geomorphological processes are commonly overlooked in flood risk mapping. In the Philippines, rivers are particularly dynamic; risks arising from sedimentation and erosion need to be assessed and incorporated into flood risk management to mitigate the impact of flooding on welfare and the economy. This project aims to: (i) develop a national-scale catchment characteristics database, and associated river geometry relations, to assess the susceptibility of different catchments to morphological change impacts on flood hazard; and (ii) assess flood hazards arising from morphological change associated with variations in sediment supply and the influence of lateral constraints on channel morphological adjustment. To achieve the first aim we will use national scale topographic models and repeat satellite imagery to assess fluvial and landscape characteristics to identify indicators of enhanced channel mobility and sediment transport, with outputs available from a river centreline Geographic Information System with data points every 1 km along the Philippines river network. This national scale dataset will be used by project partners to assess and plan infrastructure developments. To achieve the second aim we will generate repeat, high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the Pinacanauan de Ilagan River and the Bacarra Rivers, from airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and bathymetric surveys. We will difference these DEMs to map patterns of erosion and deposition during a wet season, and calculate a sediment budget for each river. The DEMs and sediment budget will then be used to parameterise and assess hydro- and morpho-dynamic models that will be used to investigate changes in flood risk due to morphological change. This framework will be used, by project partners, to guide river and flood management in the Pinacanauan de Ilagan and the Bacarra catchments. The framework will also be transferable to other rivers in the Philippines, and farther afield in SE Asia and beyond.

Recent publications:

Boothroyd, R.J, Hardy, R.J, Warburton, J, and Marjoribanks, T.I. (2019). The importance of riparian plant orientation in river flow: implications for flow structures and drag. Journal of Ecohydraulics. 3: 108–129.

Boothroyd, R.J, Hardy, R.J, Warburton, J, and Marjoribanks, T.I. (2017). Modeling complex flow structures and drag around a submerged plant of varied posture. Water Resources Research. 53: 2877–2901.

Boothroyd, R.J, Hardy, R.J, Warburton, J, and Marjoribanks, T.I. (2016). The importance of accurately representing submerged vegetation morphology in the numerical prediction of complex river flow. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 41: 567–576.

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