Wind-blown sand on beaches: an evaluation of models

DJ Sherman, DWT Jackson, SL Namikas, JK Wang

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201 Citations (Scopus)


Five models for predicting rates of aeolian sand transport were evaluated using empirical data obtained from field experiments conducted in April, 1994 at a beach on Inch Spit, Co. Kerry, Republic of Ireland. Measurements were made of vertical wind profiles (to derive shear velocity estimates), beach slope, and rates of sand transport. Sediment samples were taken to assess characteristics of grain size and surface moisture content. Estimates of threshold shear velocity were derived using grain size data. After parsing the field data on the basis of the quality of shear velocity estimation and the occurrence of blowing sand, 51 data sets describing rates of sand transport and environmental conditions were retained. Mean grain diameter was 0.17 mm. Surface slopes ranged from 0.02 on the foreshore to about 0.11 near the dune toe. Mean shear velocities ranged from 0.23 m s(-1) (just above the observed transport threshold) to 0.65 m s(-1). Rates of transport ranged from 0.02 kg m(-1) h(-1) to more than 80 kg m(-1) h(-1). These data were used as input to the models of Bagnold [Bagnold, R.A., 1936. The Movement of Desert Sand. Proc. R. Soc. London, A157, 594-620], Kawamura [Kawamura, R., 1951. Study of Sand Movement by Wind. Translated (1965) as University of California Hydraulics Engineering Laboratory Report HEL 2-8, Berkeley], Zingg [Zingg, A.W., 1953. Wind tunnel studies of the movement of sedimentary material. Proc. 5th Hydraulics Conf. Bull. 34, Iowa City, Inst. of Hydraulics, pp. 111-135], Kadib [Kadib, A.A., 1965. A function for sand movement by wind. University of California Hydraulics Engineering Laboratory Report HEL 2-8, Berkeley], and Lettau and Lettau [Lettau, K. and Lettau, H., 1977. Experimental and Micrometeorological Field Studies of Dune Migration. In: K. Lettau and H. Lettau (Eds.), Exploring the World's Driest Climate. University of Wisconsin-Madison, IES Report 101, pp. 110-147]. Correction factors to adjust predictions of the rate of transport to account for the effects of slope and moisture content were calculated using the models of Bagnold [Bagnold, R.A., 1973. The nature of saltation and `bed-load' transport in water. Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A, 332, 473-504] and Belly [Belly, P.-Y., 1964. Sand movement by wind. U.S. Army Corps Eng. CERC. Tech. Mem. 1, Washington D.C., 38 pp.], respectively. None of the models was able to produce a strong correspondence between measured and predicted rates of transport. Best results were obtained using the Bagnold and Zingg models, and the Kadib model was the least viable of this group. The influence of sediment moisture content appeared to be the critical factor in degrading model viability. Overall, none of the models is adequate for general applications to coastal-aeolian environments where moisture content complications tend to override the predictive competence of the simple transport formulations. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-133
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Mar 1998

Bibliographical note

Session on Aeolian Environments at the International-Association-of-Geomorphology Southeast Asia Conference,


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