Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Watershed Physical Processes Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #213184

Title: Time Scales in Turbulence and Sediment Concentration Over Mobile Sand Dunes

item Wren, Daniel
item Kuhnle, Roger

Submitted to: Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2007
Publication Date: 9/10/2007
Citation: Wren, D.G., Kuhnle, R.A. 2007. Time Scales in Turbulence and Sediment Concentration Over Mobile Sand Dunes. Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings. 6 pp. 2007. CD-ROM

Interpretive Summary: The flow of water over the bed of a stream or river is very complex, and it is difficult to determine what fluid motions are important for moving sand particles. Examining these processes over a dune covered bed requires creative experimental design and data processing. In order to address this question, the time between high magnitude changes in fluid motion and in particle concentration were calculated from measurements of turbulence and acoustic backscatter from particles. The resulting findings show that over most of the dune the highest magnitude changes in sediment concentration are on different time scale from changes in fluid velocity, but their time scales are similar in localized regions on the backs of dunes.

Technical Abstract: The relationship between turbulent fluid motions and sediment particles over mobile sand dunes may be better understood by examining the time scales over which the quantities fluctuate. In laboratory experiments performed at the USDA-ARS-National Sedimentation Laboratory, profiles of acoustic backscatter data and point turbulence data were collected while translating downstream with mobile dune bedforms. The resulting data set has been used to examine the frequency at which fluctuating backscatter and fluid velocity signals exceeded magnitude thresholds based on the standard deviation of the signal. It was found that the recurrence frequency for backscatter, downstream, and vertical velocities was more strongly dependent on elevation and threshold magnitude than position relative to bedform length. Vertical velocities showed the largest decrease in frequency with increasing depth. The recurrence frequency for acoustic backscatter data at a 1.0*standard deviation threshold was best matched by the vertical velocity component in the trough and low stoss region, but the downstream velocity component displayed a better match higher on the stoss and near the crest.