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Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 18, 455-467, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-18-455-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
13 Jul 2011
Size distribution and structure of Barchan dune fields
O. Durán1, V. Schwämmle2, P. G. Lind3, and H. J. Herrmann4,5 1Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes, UMR7636, CNRS – ESPCI, 10 rue Vauquelin, 75231 Paris Cedex, France
2Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Univ. of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
3Centro de Física Teórica e Computacional, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto 2, 1649-003 Lisboa, Portugal
4Computational Physics, IfB, HIF E12, ETH Hönggerberg, Schafmattstr. 6, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
5Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal do Ceará, 60451-970 Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil
Abstract. Barchans are isolated mobile dunes often organized in large dune fields. Dune fields seem to present a characteristic dune size and spacing, which suggests a cooperative behavior based on dune interaction. In Duran et al. (2009), we propose that the redistribution of sand by collisions between dunes is a key element for the stability and size selection of barchan dune fields. This approach was based on a mean-field model ignoring the spatial distribution of dune fields. Here, we present a simplified dune field model that includes the spatial evolution of individual dunes as well as their interaction through sand exchange and binary collisions. As a result, the dune field evolves towards a steady state that depends on the boundary conditions. Comparing our results with measurements of Moroccan dune fields, we find that the simulated fields have the same dune size distribution as in real fields but fail to reproduce their homogeneity along the wind direction.

Citation: Durán, O., Schwämmle, V., Lind, P. G., and Herrmann, H. J.: Size distribution and structure of Barchan dune fields, Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 18, 455-467, https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-18-455-2011, 2011.
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