Modeling aeolian erosion in presence of vegetation
Article first published online: 6 FEB 2014
©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Volume 119, Issue 2, pages 168–187, February 2014
How to Cite
2014), Modeling aeolian erosion in presence of vegetation, J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surf., 119, 168–187, doi:10.1002/2013JF002875., , and (
- Issue published online: 17 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 6 FEB 2014
- Accepted manuscript online: 4 JAN 2014 09:35AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 29 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Received: 6 JUN 2013
- large-eddy simulation;
Semiarid landscapes are characterized by vegetated surfaces. Understanding the impact of vegetation on aeolian soil erosion is important for reducing soil erosion or limiting crop damage through abrasion or burial. In the present study, a saltation model fully coupled with a large-eddy simulation airflow model is extended to vegetated landscapes. From this model, the sensitivity of sand erosion to different arrangements and type of plants (shrub versus tree) representative of semiarid landscapes is investigated and the wind erosion reduction induced by plants is quantified. We show that saltation processes over vegetated surfaces have a limited impact on the mean wind statistics, the momentum extracted from the flow by saltating particles being negligible compared to that extracted by plants. Simulated sand erosion patterns resulting from plant distribution, i.e., accumulation and erosion areas, appear qualitatively consistent with previous observations. It is shown that sand erosion reduction depends not only on vegetation cover but also on plant morphology and plant distribution relative to the mean wind direction. A simple shear stress partitioning approach applied in shrub cases gives similar trends of sand erosion reduction as the present model following wind direction and vegetation cover. However, the magnitude of the reduction appears significantly different from one approach to another. Although shrubs trap saltating particles, trees appear more efficient than shrubs to reduce sand erosion. This is explained by the large-scale sheltering effect of trees compared to the local shrub one.