- Air flow over foredunes and implications for sand transport
- Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
More than 4000 hourly wind profiles measured on three topographically different foredunes are analysed and discussed. Wind flow over the foredunes is studied by means of the relative wind speed: the ratio between wind speed at a certain location and the reference wind speed at the same height. Relative wind speeds appear to be independent of general wind speed but dependent on wind direction. For perpendicular onshore winds the flow over the foredune is accelerated due to topographic changes and decelerated due to changes in surface roughness. Accelerations dominate over decelerations on the seaward slope. The pattern of acceleration and deceleration in relation to wind direction is more or less comparable for different foredunes, but the magnitudes differ. An increase in foredune height from 6 to 10m leads to an increase in speed-up near the top of the seaward slope from 110 to 150 per cent during onshore wind, but further increase of foredune height from 10 to 23m appears to have little effect, due to increased roughness and deflection of flow.
Topography also influences the direction of the flow. Between beach and top, the flow deflects in the direction of the normal during onshore winds. During offshore winds the flow is deflected to the parallel. Near the dunefoot, deflection is always in the direction of the parallel, and increases with steeper topography. The maximum deflection near the dunefoot was 90°, over a 23 m high dune, observed during offshore winds.
Patterns of erosion and sedimentation resulting from winds from different directions can be explained by the observed accelerations and decelerations. Owing to speed-up on the seaward front of the foredune, sand transport capacity of the wind increases, which results in erosion if vegetation is absent. During strong onshore wind, sand is lifted near the dunefoot and moves over the foredune in suspension. During weaker winds, vertical wind velocities do not exceed fall velocities of the sand grains, and most of the sand is deposited near the dunefoot.
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