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Phase diagrams of dune shape and orientation depending on sand availability

Abstract : New evidence indicates that sand availability does not only control dune type but also the underlying dune growth mechanism and the subsequent dune orientation. Here we numerically investigate the development of bedforms in bidirectional wind regimes for two different conditions of sand availability: an erodible sand bed or a localized sand source on a non-erodible ground. These two conditions of sand availability are associated with two independent dune growth mechanisms and, for both of them, we present the complete phase diagrams of dune shape and orientation. On an erodible sand bed, linear dunes are observed over the entire parameter space. Then, the divergence angle and the transport ratio between the two winds control dune orientation and dynamics. For a localized sand source, different dune morphologies are observed depending on the wind regime. There are systematic transitions in dune shape from barchans to linear dunes extending away from the localized sand source, and vice-versa. These transitions are captured fairly by a new dimensionless parameter, which compares the ability of winds to build the dune topography in the two modes of dune orientation.
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Xin Gao, Clément Narteau, Olivier Rozier, Sylvain Courrech Du Pont. Phase diagrams of dune shape and orientation depending on sand availability. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2015, 5, pp. 585-597. ⟨10.1038/srep14677⟩. ⟨insu-03579557⟩

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