Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 445–468

Drag Partition for Regularly-Arrayed Rough Surfaces

  • D. M. Crawley
  • W. G. Nickling

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022119909546

Cite this article as:
Crawley, D.M. & Nickling, W.G. Boundary-Layer Meteorology (2003) 107: 445. doi:10.1023/A:1022119909546


Vegetation and other roughness elements distributed across a surface can providesignificant protection against wind erosion by extracting momentum from the flowand thereby reducing the shear stress acting at the surface. A theoretical model haspreviously been presented to specify the partition of drag forces for rough surfacesand to predict required vegetation density to suppress wind erosion. However, themodel parameters have not yet been constrained and the predictive capacity of themodel has remained uncertain. A wind-tunnel study was conducted to measure thedrag partition for a range of roughness densities and to parameterise the model inorder to improve its range of potential applicability. The drag forces acting on bothan array of roughness elements and the intervening surface were measured independentlyand simultaneously using new drag balance instrumentation. A detailed measure of thespatial heterogeneity of surface shear stresses was also made using Irwin sensors. Thedata agreed well with previous results and confirmed the general form of the model.Analysis of the drag partition confirmed the parameter definition β = CR/CS(where CR and CS are roughness element and surface drag coefficients,respectively) and a constant proportional difference between the mean and maximumsurface shear stress was found. The results of this experiment suggest that the definitionfor m, the surface shear stress inhomogeneity parameter, should be revised, although thetheoretical and physical reasons for including this parameter in the model appear to bevalid. Best-fit values for m ranged from 0.53 to 0.58.

Drag partition Roughness arrays Shear stress Shear stress partitioning Wind erosion 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Crawley
    • 1
  • W. G. Nickling
    • 1
  1. 1.Wind Erosion Laboratory, Department of GeographyUniversity of GuelphGuelph, OntarioCanada

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