Boundary-layer turbulence characteristics during aeolian saltation

Bailiang Li*, Cheryl McKenna Neuman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


A great deal of effort has been expended in measuring turbulence phenomena in clean air flows. However, no previous measurements have been successfully made of the vertical distributions of turbulence intensity and Reynolds stress in a fully adjusted boundary-layer flow saturated with saltating particles. The present wind tunnel study addresses this knowledge gap using a custom designed laser-Doppler anemometer (LDA). The amount of turbulence is found to increase with the introduction of saltating particles to the airflow. Over the lowest 15% of boundary layer, vertical profiles of the streamwise wind speed provide friction velocities that lie well within the narrow range of those derived from direct measurement of the Reynolds stress. Relative to clean air, aeolian saltation is demonstrated to increase the magnitude but not the frequency of burst-sweep events that primarily contribute to the total fluid stress. Within several millimeters above the bed surface, all vertical profiles of wind speed converge upon a focal point, as the local fluid stress declines toward the mobile bed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL11402
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

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