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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 4, p. 946-952
    Received: May 21, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): david@uckac.edu
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Wind Barriers Suppress Fugitive Dust and Soil-Derived Airborne Particles in Arid Regions

  1. David A. Grantz *,
  2. David L. Vaughn,
  3. Robert J. Farber,
  4. Bong Kim,
  5. Lowell Ashbaugh,
  6. Tony VanCuren and
  7. Rich Campbell
  1. S oCal Edison, Environmental Res. Div., 2144 Walnut Grove Ave., Rosemead, CA, 91770;
    S outh Coast Air Quality Management District, 21865 E. Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, CA, 91765;
    C rocker Nuclear Lab., Univ. of California, Davis, CA, 95616;
    C alifornia Air Resources Board, 2020 L Street, Sacramento, CA, 95812;
    A ntelope Valley Resour. Conserv. District, 44811 Date Ave., Suite G, Lancaster, CA, 93534.



Areas of abandoned agricultural land in the Antelope Valley, western Mojave (high) desert of California have proven in our previous studies to be recalcitrant to conventional tillage and revegetation strategies designed to suppress wind erosion of soil and transport of sediment and fugitive dust. These areas represented a continuing source of drifting sand and of coarse and respirable suspended particulate matter. The traditional techniques failed because furrows collapsed and the water holding capacity of the overburden was too low to support seed germination and transplant survival. In this study a variety of wind barriers were evaluated for suppression of sediment transport. Airborne particles were measured with an array of coarse particle samplers at heights of 0.2, 1.0, and 2.0 m above the soil surface. Discrete artificial wind barriers, consisting of widely spaced roughness elements, were effective in suppressing fugitive emissions (>75% at 0.2 m). Wind fences established along the leeward edge of an area of blowing sand, perpendicular to the prevailing wind, significantly decreased fugitive emissions (>90% at 0.2 m). Control was greatest and precision of the measurements was highest under high wind conditions. These techniques provide rapid and effective suppression of fugitive emissions of soil-derived particles under conditions that resist conventional tillage and revegetation techniques. A simple, indirect procedure for determining local wind velocity erosion thresholds requiring only sampling of wind run and suspended particulate mass compared favorably with direct measurement of saltation as a function of wind velocity.

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