Sonntag, 14. April 2024, 10:00 - 17:00
(Vorläufiger Termin)

Tracing Day 2024


Thematic International Study Day - Novel strategies of sediment tracing in catchments and river systems

Währinger Strasse 17, 1090 Wien


Soil and water resources that are essential to human and aquatic life are increasingly threatened by human activities and the impacts of land use and climate change. Sediment and sediment-associated constituents, in particular, can contribute substantially to water-quality impairment. In order to take effective conservation measures to protect these resources from erosion and alteration, and use them in a more sustainable way, a preliminary assessment is needed to: (1) quantify soil losses; (2) identify the sources and the pathways of runoff and sediment across the landscapes to the river systems; and (3) calculate the transfer and residence times of sediment and particle-bound contaminants in the river network.


Several innovative techniques have been developed recently opening up new avenues to establish this assessment of sediment flux in the critical zone. These innovative techniques include the tracing or “fingerprinting” methods to identify the sources and quantify the dynamics of sediment and particle-bound contaminants, high resolution topographic mapping using various emerging technologies (i.e Lidar) to map connectivity and sediment pathways, the development and installation of multiple low-cost sensors in the rivers. However, the use of these techniques is often associated with several methodological and statistical limitations, that are often reported although rarely addressed in the framework of concerted actions taken at the level of the international scientific community. Among the main methodological difficulties associated with these techniques are the following: conservativeness of tracers during the erosion to delivery cycle; collection and representativeness of sampling in the field; use of correction factors to remove the effect associated with differences in particle size or organic matter content between source and target samples; Bayesian versus multivariate statistical analyses; calibration of sensors/samplers installed in the field/in rivers; validation and uncertainty of model results.


In this context, the objective of this Thematic Scientific Meeting Day is to bring together international experts working on these topics together. It is organised to follow-up the discussions initiated during specifically dedicated sessions organised during the last years at the General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union (EGU) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This event will take place on Sunday 14 April 2024 – just before the 2024 edition of the EGU conference starts – to facilitate the participation of European and non-European colleagues and minimize the environmental impact of the meeting. In the future, we hope that other similar events will be organised in the framework of international conferences (e.g. EGU 2025) to continue stimulating discussions about this topic in coming years.

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Dr. Silke Merchel (Faculty of Physics, Univ. of Vienna, Austria), Dr. Sabine Kraushaar (PH Burgenland, Austria), Dr. Olivier Evrard (LSCE, Univ. Paris-Saclay, France)

Um Anmeldung wird gebeten


Silke Merchel
Universität Wien
Fakultät für Physik, Isotopenphysik