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Using wind run to predict sand drift

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Andreas C.W. Baas, Derek D.W. Jackson, Irene Delgado‐Fernandez, Kevin Lynch, J. Andrew G. Cooper

Original languageEnglish
Early online date4 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2020

King's Authors


Conventional aeolian sand transport models relate mass transport rate to wind speed or shear velocity, usually expressed and empirically tested on a 1-s time scale. Projections of total sand delivery over long time scales based on these models are highly sensitive to any small bias arising from statistical fitting on empirical data. We analysed time series of wind speed and sand transport rate collected at 14 independent measurement stations on a beach during a prior field experiment. The results show that relating total sand drift to cumulative above-threshold wind run yields models which are more statistically robust when fitted on empirical data, generating smaller prediction errors when projected to longer time scales. Testing of different power exponents indicates that a linear relationship between sand drift and above-threshold wind run yields the best results. These findings inspire a speculative novel phenomenological model relating the mass flow of air in the boundary layer to the mass transport of sand over the surface.

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