Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
31 Jan 1999
31 Jan 1999

Parametrization of the increase of the aeolian erosion threshold wind friction velocity due to soil moisture for arid and semi-arid areas

F. Fécan, B. Marticorena, and G. Bergametti

Abstract. Large-scale simulation of the soil-derived dust emission in semi-arid regions needs to account for the influence of the soil moisture on the wind erosion threshold. Soil water retention consists of molecular adsorption on the soil grain surface and capillary forces between the grain. Interparticle capillary forces (characterized by the moisture tension) are the main factor responsible for the increase of the wind erosion threshold observed when the soil moisture increases. When the soil moisture content is close to but smaller than the maximum amount of adsorbed water, w' (depending on the soil texture), these capillary forces are considered as not strong enough to significantly increase the erosion threshold. An expression of the moisture tension as a function of soil moisture and w' is derived from retention curves. From this expression, a parametrization of the ratio of the wet to dry erosion thresholds has been developed as a function of soil moisture and soil texture. The coefficients of this parametrization have been determined by using experimental data from the literature. An empirical relationship between w' and soil clay content has been established. The erosion threshold ratios simulated for different soil textures were found to be in good agreement with the experimental data.

Key words. Atmospheric composition and structure (Aerosols and particles) · Hydrology (soil moisture)