- Aeolian processes across transverse dunes. I: Modelling the air flow
- Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
- Volume | Issue number
- 24 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
This paper discusses a two-dimensional second-order closure model simulating air flow and turbulence across transverse dunes. Input parameters are upwind wind speed, topography of the dune ridge and surface roughness distribution over the ridge. The most important output is the distribution of the friction velocity over the surface. This model is dynamically linked to a model that calculates sand transport rates and the resulting changes in elevation. The sand transport model is discussed in a separate paper.
The simulated wind speeds resemble patterns observed during field experiments. Despite the increased wind speed over the crest, the friction velocity at the crest of a bare dune is reduced compared to the upstream value, because of the effect of stream line curvature on turbulence. These curvature effects explain why desert dunes can grow in height. In order to obtain realistic predictions of friction velocity it was essential to include equations for the turbulent variables in the model. In these equations streamline curvature is an important parameter.
The main flaw of the model is that it cannot deal with flow separation and the resulting recirculation vortex. As a result, the increase of the wind speed and friction velocity after a steep dune or a slipface will be too close to the dune foot. In the sand transport model this was overcome by defining a separation zone.
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