Reducing sampling uncertainty in aeolian research to improve change detection

Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface
By: , and 

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Abstract

Measurements of aeolian sediment transport support our understanding of mineral dust impacts on Earth and human systems and assessments of aeolian process sensitivities to global environmental change. However, sample design principles are often overlooked in aeolian research. Here, we use high‐density field measurements of sediment mass flux across land use and land cover types to examine sample size and power effects on detecting change in aeolian transport. Temporal variances were 1.6 to 10.1 times the magnitude of spatial variances in aeolian transport for six study sites. Differences in transport were detectable for >67% of comparisons among sites using ~27 samples. Failure to detect change with smaller sample sizes suggests that aeolian transport measurements and monitoring are much more uncertain than recognized. We show how small and selective sampling, common in aeolian research, gives the false impression that differences in aeolian transport can be detected, potentially undermining inferences about process and impacting reproducibility of aeolian research.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Reducing sampling uncertainty in aeolian research to improve change detection
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface
DOI 10.1029/2019JF005042
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 20 p.