This report presents measurements of weather parameters and aeolian (windblown) sand transport made in 2008 near selected archaeological sites in the Colorado River corridor through Grand Canyon, Ariz. The quantitative methods and data discussed here form a basis for monitoring ecosystem processes that affect archeological-site stability. Combined with forthcoming work to evaluate landscape evolution at nearby archaeological sites, these data can be used to document the relationship between physical processes, including weather and aeolian sand transport, and their effects on the physical integrity of archaeological sites. Data collected in 2008 reveal event- and seasonal-scale variations in rainfall, wind, temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. Broad seasonal changes in aeolian sediment flux are also apparent at most study sites.
The continuation of monitoring that began in 2007, and installation of equipment at several new sites in early 2008, allowed evaluation of the effects of the March 2008 high-flow experiment (HFE) on aeolian sand transport. At two of the nine sites studied, spring and summer winds reworked 2008 HFE sandbars to form new aeolian dunes, at which sand moved inland toward larger, well-established dune fields. At the other seven study sites, neither dune formation nor enhanced sand transport after the HFE were observed. At several of those sites, dominant wind directions in spring 2008 were not oriented such that much HFE sand would have moved inland; at other sites, lack of increased inland sand flux is attributable to lack of sandbar enlargement near the study sites or to inhibition of sand movement by vegetation or local topography.