Abstract

This report outlines the design of an inexpensive, floating-element drag plate developed to obtain direct measurements of bed shear stress during eolian saltation. Shear stress measurements obtained from the drag plate during a field test are evaluated in comparison with estimates of shear velocity derived from an adjacent mast of rotating-cup anemometers, in terms of their correspondence with measurements of the transport rate obtained from a load cell-based electronic sediment trap. The two approaches provide a comparable level of explanation for transport rates averaged over intervals of several minutes. However, the drag plate provides a substantially improved level of explanation for 15-second intervals, and also for the instantaneous (1 Hz) transport measurements. It is suggested that the drag-plate approach has considerable potential for investigating high-frequency fluctuations in eolian transport rates.

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