Techniques for simultaneous quantification of wind and water erosion in semi-arid regions

S.M. Visser, G. Sterk, O. Ribolzi

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Wind and water erosion are usually studied as two separate processes. However, in semi-arid zones both processes contribute significantly to soil degradation. Whereas for water erosion the direction of sediment transport is controlled by topography, in wind erosion the direction of transport is controlled by the wind direction. Furthermore, the spatial pattern of erosion and deposition for wind erosion is determined by the spatial distribution of source material, soil erodibility factors and non-erodible roughness elements. Given this difference in dependence on topography, different approaches are needed to determine the mass balance for a given area. For water erosion, the research area has to be defined such that no input of sediment occurs, whereas in wind erosion the input and output fluxes of sediment should be measured, or a non-eroding boundary should be created. In semi-arid regions, wind erosion events are often followed immediately by heavy rain. As wind and water erosion occur almost simultaneously at the same site, the effect of wind and water erosion at a given site should be studied concurrently. To do so, a number of measurement techniques with different spatial and temporal scales are necessary. The research should be started at the scale of a Sahelian field. For a complete insight into the processes at a site, the research should include measurement techniques that quantify the impact of wind and water erosion separately and techniques that quantify their combined effect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-717
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • physical characteristics
  • vertical-distribution
  • windblown sediment
  • southwest niger
  • west-africa
  • sandy soils
  • transport
  • rainfall
  • dust
  • variability


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