Intermittent Aeolian Saltation: A Protocol For Quantification

Douglas J. Sherman, L. I. Bailiang, Jean T. Ellis, Christy Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The quantification of saltation intermittency—the proportion of time when sand transport occurs—provides valuable information about the nature of aeolian systems, including insights concerning threshold conditions for sand transport. Intermittency has been measured in numerous studies, but a lack of measurement standardization often makes the comparison of results difficult. Four methodological factors influence estimates of intermittency: sample frequency, sample duration, sample area, and sensor elevation. For a given transport rate, the value of intermittency may decrease with sensor elevation, increased sample frequency, or decreased sensor area; it may increase or decrease as a consequence of sample duration. We therefore simulate the influences of these factors and suggest a common protocol for measuring and reporting intermittency based on measurements at 1 Hz with 100 mm2 sensor area at 50 mm elevation above the surface, or equivalent values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-314
Number of pages19
JournalGeographical Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • activity parameter (AP)
  • aeolian processes
  • sand transport

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