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Wind regimes and associated sand dune types in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert, China

Abstract

Wind controls the formation and development of sand dunes. Therefore, understanding the wind regimes is necessary in sand dune research. In this study, we combined the wind data from 2017 to 2019 at four meteorological stations (Cherigele and Wuertabulage stations in the lake basins, and Yikeri and Sumujilin stations on the top of sand dunes) in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert in China, with high resolution Google Earth images to analyze the correlation between the wind energy environments and dune morphology. The results of data analysis indicated that both the wind direction and sand drift intensity exhibited notable spatial and temporal variations. The highest level of wind activity was observed in spring. Northwesterly and northeasterly winds were the dominant in the Badain Jaran Desert. At the Cherigele, Wuertabulage, and Yikeri stations, the drift potential (DP) was below 200.00 vector units (VU). The wind energy environments in most areas could be classified as low-energy environments. The resultant drift direction differed at different stations and in different seasons, but the overall direction was mainly the southeast. The resultant drift potential (RDP)/DP ratio was greater than 0.30 in most parts of the study area, suggesting that the wind regimes mainly exhibited unimodal or bimodal characteristics. Differences between the thermodynamic properties and the unique landscape settings of lakes and sand dunes could alter the local circulation and intensify the complexity of the wind regimes. The wind regimes were weaker in the lake basins than on the top of sand dunes. Transverse dunes were the most dominant types of sand dunes in the study area, and the wind regimes at most stations were consistent with sand dune types. Wind was thus the main dynamic factor affecting the formation of sand dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert BJD. The results of this study are important for understanding the relationship between the wind regimes and aeolian landforms of the dune field in the deserts.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41871021) and the Desert and Glacier Field Scientific Observation and Research Station of Lanzhou University (lzujbky-2021-sp16). We thank Prof. ZHANG Zhengcai and Prof. CHENG Hongyi for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Nai’ang Wang.

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Meng, N., Wang, N., Zhao, L. et al. Wind regimes and associated sand dune types in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert, China. J. Arid Land 14, 473–489 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-022-0063-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-022-0063-3

Keywords

  • sand-driving wind
  • drift potential
  • wind energy environment
  • sand dune
  • local circulation
  • Badain Jaran Desert