The Large Rivers of the Past in West Siberia: Unknown Hydrological Regimen
- Calculating the discharge in a paleoriver from paleoclimatic reconstructions with water budget equations.
- Calculating the flow velocity and discharge in a paleoriver for a given level based on the cross-section geometry and the paleoriver slope and bed resistance to flow.
- Calculating the flow discharge of a certain return period based on hydraulic geometry of the paleochannel.
- 1 .
- Reduced air temperature
- 2 .
- Increased total precipitation
- 3 .
- Changed regimen of precipitation
- 4 .
- Increased extent of frozen ground
- 5 .
- Changed regimen of runoff
- 6 .
- Increased size of individual rains
- 7 .
- Increased frequency of storms
- 8 .
- Increased wetness of soil
- 9 .
- Changed vegetation cover.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. General Information
2.2. Large Ancient Meandering Rivers in the West Siberian Plain
2.3. The Modern Rivers of West Siberia
2.4. Relationships between River Channel Width and Discharge
2.5. Relationships between Mean Maximum Discharge and Basin Area
3.1. The Regime Equation between River Channel Width and Discharge
3.1.1. General Assumptions
3.1.2. Equation (2) for the West Siberian Plain
3.2. Relationships between River Channel Width and Contributing Basin Area for West Siberia
3.2.1. The Modern Rivers
3.2.2. The Ancient Rivers
3.3. The Ancient Maximum Surface Runoff in West Siberia
3.4. The Possibility to Estimate Mean Annual Flow Characteristics
4.1. Parameters of the Relationship between Channel Width and Discharge in Downstream Direction
4.2. Estimations of the Mean Annual Flow Characteristics
- The West Siberian Plain is the territory with numerous remnants of large meandering paleochannels formed during the Late Pleniglacial/Late Glacial time. Their widths are 2–16 times greater than those of the modern rivers with the same basins.
- The relationship between river bankfull width and mean maximum discharge is relatively close for the rivers with very different regimes of water runoff and different ages. This observation allows for the use of the main hypothesis of the paleohydrology: the hydraulic geometry equations, designed for the modern rivers, are valid for the ancient rivers. The main limitation of this approach is the possible change in the morphological type of the river channel in time.
- The hydraulic geometry of the modern rivers of West Siberia was used to reconstruct the mean maximum discharges of the ancient rivers based on their ancient bankfull widths. Mean maximum discharges were recalculated to the mean flood surface runoff depth from a unit basin. The ancient daily water input intensity during snow thaw was 60–75 mm/day in the north of the plain occupied by tundra and sparse forest and 20–40 mm/day in the south (so-called periglacial steppe with sparse forest), with the mean value for the entire plain of 46 mm. This is more than five times larger than the modern value.
- Maximum daily water input intensity during snow thaw was recalculated into mean annual river runoff using assumptions of the paleohydrological analogy. The average annual depth of the river runoff was 430 mm for the Ob basin, except for floodplains and mountains. The total annual flow of the Ob into the ocean was about 1000 km3. This is three times the current flow from the same basin, so the river was a significant source of fresh water to the Arctic Ocean during the last period of deglaciation.
- Almost all factors listed by Dury  (further in italics) were important for the changes in hydrologic regime and flood runoff increase in West Siberia in the Late Pleniglacial. Data from analogous regions show that the winter air temperature reduced by 8–10 °C, but that of the snowmelt period (June–July) was approximately the same as the current one. Total precipitation increased, and the regimen of precipitation changed, with a shift to the winter months. The extent of frozen ground increased dramatically: the southern boundary of the continuous permafrost was then at about 50° northern latitude instead of the modern 66°N. The regimen of runoff changed along with the regime of precipitation, with high floods during the snow thaw period and nearly empty channels during all the rest of the year. Increased size of individual rains, increased frequency of storms and increased wetness of soil were probable but not proved. Vegetation cover changed within the area of boreal forest (taiga), largely replaced by sparse forest and tundra–steppe landscapes.
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Conflicts of Interest
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Sidorchuk, A. The Large Rivers of the Past in West Siberia: Unknown Hydrological Regimen. Water 2023, 15, 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020258
Sidorchuk A. The Large Rivers of the Past in West Siberia: Unknown Hydrological Regimen. Water. 2023; 15(2):258. https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020258Chicago/Turabian Style
Sidorchuk, Aleksey. 2023. "The Large Rivers of the Past in West Siberia: Unknown Hydrological Regimen" Water 15, no. 2: 258. https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020258