Field measurement and analysis of climatic factors affecting dune mobility near Grand Falls on the Navajo Nation, southwestern United States

Geomorphology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Aeolian sand covers extensive areas of the Navajo Nation in the southwestern United States. Much of this sand is currently stabilized by vegetation, although many drier parts of these Native lands also have active and partly active dunes. Current prolonged drought conditions that started in the mid-1990s are producing significant changes in dune mobility. Reactivation of regional aeolian deposits due to drought or increasing aridity from rising temperatures resulting from climate change could have serious consequences for human and animal populations, agriculture, grazing, and infrastructure. To understand and document the current and future potential for mobility, seasonally repeated surveys were used to track the location of multiple active barchan dunes. By utilizing Real-Time Kinematic GPS field surveys and simultaneously collecting in-situ meteorological data, it is possible to examine climatic parameters and seasonal variations that affect dune mobility and their relative influences. Through analysis of the recorded data, we examined the fit of various climate parameters, and demonstrate that under the current prolonged drought, wind power is the dominant factor controlling dune mobility.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Field measurement and analysis of climatic factors affecting dune mobility near Grand Falls on the Navajo Nation, southwestern United States
Series title Geomorphology
DOI 10.1016/j.geomorph.2014.08.023
Volume 228
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Geomorphology
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 41
Last page 51
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Grand Falls
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N