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Sand drift potential in western Algerian Hautes Plaines

Louassa, Samira, Merzouk, Mustapha, Merzouk, Nachida Kasbadji
Aeolian research 2018 v.34 pp. 27-34
climatic factors, meteorological data, models, sand, soil, vegetation cover, wind, wind erosion, wind power
The western Algerian Hautes Plaines are characterized by limited natural resources, poor soil, sparse vegetation and severe climatic conditions. Sand transport is a serious problem in this area, largely due to wind erosion and inappropriate use of soils. The objective of this work is to evaluate the magnitude and the intensity of sand drift potential. Weather data from five meteorological stations located in the western Algerian Hautes Plaines are used. The annual frequency of sand-transporting wind accounted for 32% in El-Kheither, 31% in Mecheria, 24% in El-Bayadh, 20% in Naama and 13% in Ain-Sefra. Calculated sand drift potential (DP) indicates high-energy wind environments in El-Kheither and Mecheria, intermediate energy wind environments in El-Bayadh and Naama and a low-energy wind environment in Ain-Sefra. Annual resultant drift direction (RDD) is towards the southwest in El-Bayadh, west-southwest in Naama and Ain-Sefra, towards east-northeast direction in Mecheria and towards the northeast in El-Kheither. The directional variability index (RDP/DP) indicates high variability in sand-driving wind in Naama and El-Kheither and intermediate in the other stations. The application of the model proposed by Yizhaq for studying vegetation cover variation as a function of wind power in the study area revealed the presence of fixed and active dune states.