Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Brian D. Barkdoll

Committee Member 1

Noel R. Urban

Committee Member 2

Amy M. Marcarelli


Global climate change may result in rising temperatures. As a result, ecological health and the human use of rivers may be impacted. The hydrologic cycle, watershed hydrology, and in-stream hydraulics are dynamic systems, influenced by human activities, natural events, and climate. Although known drivers like precipitation and stream velocity govern sediment processes, the effect of water temperature on sediment transport remains unclear. In-stream sediment movement could lead to blocked harbors, flooding, and degradation of vulnerable fish habitat. To better understand how fluctuations in water temperature affect sediment dynamics, six transport models were analyzed on the Niobrara River, with water temperatures ranging 1 to 40 C. The results indicate that as water warms sediment transport decreases, according to an inverse, non-linear law, with the highest reduction at colder water temperatures. The results given here can help predict changes in sediment transport for rivers with similar characteristics at various water temperatures.

Jennie L. Tyrrell

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Michigan Technological University

Houghton, Michigan

Fall 2015