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Minimal model for aeolian sand dunes

Minimal model for aeolian sand dunes We present a minimal model for the formation and migration of aeolian sand dunes in unidirectional winds. It combines a perturbative description of the turbulent wind velocity field above the dune with a continuum saltation model that allows for saturation transients in the sand flux. The latter are shown to provide a characteristic length scale, called saturation length, which is distinct from the saltation length of the grains. The model admits two different classes of solutions for the steady-state profile along the wind direction: smooth heaps and dunes with slip face. We clarify the origin of the characteristic properties of these solutions and analyze their scaling behavior. We also investigate in some detail the dynamic evolution of heaps and dunes, including the steady-state migration velocity and transient shape relaxation. Although the minimal model employs nonlocal expressions for the wind shear stress as well as for the sand flux, it is simple enough to serve as a very efficient tool for analytical and numerical investigations and opens up the way to simulations of large scale desert topographies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Physical Review E American Physical Society (APS)

Minimal model for aeolian sand dunes

Physical Review E , Volume 66 (3) – Sep 1, 2002
18 pages

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References (18)

Publisher
American Physical Society (APS)
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 The American Physical Society
ISSN
1095-3787
DOI
10.1103/PhysRevE.66.031302
pmid
12366107
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We present a minimal model for the formation and migration of aeolian sand dunes in unidirectional winds. It combines a perturbative description of the turbulent wind velocity field above the dune with a continuum saltation model that allows for saturation transients in the sand flux. The latter are shown to provide a characteristic length scale, called saturation length, which is distinct from the saltation length of the grains. The model admits two different classes of solutions for the steady-state profile along the wind direction: smooth heaps and dunes with slip face. We clarify the origin of the characteristic properties of these solutions and analyze their scaling behavior. We also investigate in some detail the dynamic evolution of heaps and dunes, including the steady-state migration velocity and transient shape relaxation. Although the minimal model employs nonlocal expressions for the wind shear stress as well as for the sand flux, it is simple enough to serve as a very efficient tool for analytical and numerical investigations and opens up the way to simulations of large scale desert topographies.

Journal

Physical Review EAmerican Physical Society (APS)

Published: Sep 1, 2002

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