Characterization of aeolian streamers using time-average videography

Douglas J. Sherman, Chris Houser, Jean T. Ellis, Eugene J. Farrell, Bailiang Li, Robin G.D. Davidson-Arnott, Andreas C.W. Baas, Luis Parente Maia

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Aeolian streamers are common in prototype saltation systems. Streamers are elongate, flow-aligned features within which the concentrations of saltating grains are large relative to a spanwise average concentration. The occurrence of streamers introduces substantial spatial and temporal variability in local sand transport rates. There have been few studies to attempt to characterize the scales of streamers, and the results of those studies have been constrained because they use Eulerian approaches to measure an inherently Lagrangian process. We describe the results from a field experiment designed to address this methodological problem. Field experiments were conducted at Jericoacoara, Ceará, Brazil, in October, 2011. The wind field was measured with ultrasonic anemometers and ruggedized thermal probes. Transport rates were measured using Miniphones, Wenglor Particle Counters, and hose traps. A set of three video cameras, deployed in a triangular array, was used to capture images of streamers. The field of vision for the central, upwind-facing camera was a minimum of about 15 m, expanding to more than 100 m in the middle distance. Video images were time-averaged over a number of intervals, ranging from 1-64 seconds, to establish characteristic path lengths and spatial and temporal scales. The results of these analyses show that this methodological approach is technically sound. Streamer characteristics are center-to-center spacings of about 1 m, length-scales exceeding 50 m and time scales of individual streamers exceeding 64 s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1336
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Coastal Research
Issue numberSPEC. ISSUE 65
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Coherent turbulent structures
  • Field experiment
  • Saltation
  • Transport rate unsteadiness
  • Wind-blown sand

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