SESAM - Sediment Export from large Semi-Arid Catchments: Measurement and Modelling

The SESAM project frames joint research projects of institutions in Germany (University of Potsdam and GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences), Spain (University of Lleida, Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia) and Brazil (University of Ceara, Fortaleza). It conducts research on soil erosion, sediment transport, reservoir sedimentation as well as connectivity phenomena for meso-scale dryland environments in Spain and Brazil.

Within a first project (period: 2004-2008), extensive field data collection and monitoring programs were carried out for study areas in the Pre-Pyrenees (the Esera-Isabena Catchments in Aragon and the Ribera Salada Catchment in Catalonia) and in the drought triangle of NE Brazil (the Aiuaba Experimental Basin and the Bengue Basin in Ceara) which led to the compilation of a comprehensive database on suspended and bedload transport data, information on soil and vegetation related properties, erosion characteristics and sedimentation rates. One of the core products of the project was the development of the WASA-SED model, a process-based, spatially semi-distributed modelling framework for water and sediment transport and reservoir sedimentation for meso-scale dryland catchments. This project was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under the name "Sediment Export from large Semi-Arid Catchments: Measurement and Modelling". Complementary funds were provided by CAPES.

The second project (period: 2010-2013) focuses mainly on the (inter-) relation of transfer, storage and re-entrainment processes that determine the distribution of water and sediments among different landscape components, shortly named the connectivity of water and sediments. Comprehensive measurements from plot to meso-scale will be achieved by field works and remote sensing campaigns, including multispectral flight campaigns, repetitive laser volume-scans, as well as several hydrological observations. The collected data shall provide an input for a further developed modelling of fluxes and connectivity phenomena of water and sediments with the WASA-SED model. The project is funded by the DFG under the name "Generation, transport and retention of water and suspended sediments in large dryland catchments: Monitoring and integrated modeling of fluxes and connectivity phenomena".

This webpage provides a concise summary on the conducted research, a description of the WASA-SED model and a list of scientific publications that were derived from this project including peer-reviewed studies on dryland and erosion research.

Please cite this web resource as: SESAM Online Resources (2013) [online], Project descriptions, University of Potsdam, Germany. Available from:

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