Recalibrating aeolian sand transport models

Douglas J. Sherman, Bailiang Li, Jean T. Ellis*, Eugene J. Farrell, Luis Parente Maia, Helena Granja

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


A quality-controlled data set comprising measurements of aeolian sand transport rates obtained at three disparate field sites is used to evaluate six commonly employed transport rate models (those of Bagnold, Kawamura, Zingg, Owen, Hsu, and Lettau and Lettau) and to recalibrate the empirical constants in those models. Shear velocity estimates were obtained using the von Kármán constant and an apparent von Kármán parameter. Models were recalibrated using non-linear regression and non-linear regression with least-squares lines forced through axes origins. Recalibration using the apparent von Kármán parameter and forced regression reduced the empirical constants for all models. The disparity between the predictions from the different models is reduced from about an order of magnitude to about a quarter of an order of magnitude. The recalibrated Lettau and Lettau model provided the greatest statistical agreement between observed and predicted transport rates, with a coefficient of determination of 0·77. Evaluation of the results suggests that our estimations of threshold shear velocity may be too slow, causing errors in predicted transport rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Apparent von Kármán parameter
  • Initiation of motion
  • Sand transport rate models
  • Shear velocity

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