Measuring aeolian saltation: A comparison of sensors

Douglas J. Sherman, Bailiang Li, Eugene J. Farrell, Jean T. Ellis, Walter D. Cox, Lús P. Maia, Paulo H.G.O. Sousa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


We report the results of field experiments designed to compare four types of aeolian saltation sensors: the Safire; the Wenglor® Particle Counter; the Miniphone; and the Buzzer Disc. Sets of sensors were deployed in tight spatial arrays and sampled at rates as fast as 20 kHz. In two of the three trials, the data from the sensors are compared to data obtained from sand traps. The Miniphone and the Buzzer Disc, based on microphone and piezoelectric technologies, respectively, produced grain impact counts comparable to those derived from the trap data. The Safire and the Wenglor® Particle Counter produce count rates that were an order of magnitude too slow. Safires undercount because of their large momentum threshold and because its signal is saturated at relatively slow transport rates. We conclude that the Miniphone and the Buzzer Disc are appropriate for deployment as grain counters because their small size allows them to be installed in closely-spaced sets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-290
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Coastal Research
Issue numberSPEC. ISSUE 59
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Buzzer Disc
  • Miniphone
  • Safire
  • Wenglor Particle Counter
  • sand traps
  • transport rate

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