Numerical modelling of airflow over an idealised transverse dune

Daniel R. Parsons, Giles F.S. Wiggs, Ian J. Walker, Robert I. Ferguson, Brian G. Garvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


The general flow structure over transverse aeolian dunes is now well documented through both field studies and wind tunnel experiments. Research on windward (stoss) slopes of dunes is extensive and has recently been complemented by research on the lee-side flow structure. However, a number of technical deficiencies in wind tunnel instrumentation and a lack of detailed resolution in and appropriate turbulence instrumentation for field research have resulted in an incomplete quantified characterisation of the flow structure over aeolian dunes. This study applies a two-dimensional numerical model with an RNG-modified κ-ε turbulence model to simulate the time-averaged flow field over an idealized aeolian dune. The model is successfully validated with wind tunnel experimental data. Results indicate that the model accurately predicts the flow patterns over the dune, producing regions of flow stagnation at the toe, acceleration up the stoss slope and a region of flow separation and reversal in the lee. Further development and application of this model will allow examination of flow-form interaction, the testing of more complex isolated dune morphologies, and characterisation of flow over multiple dunes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Aeolian dunes
  • Aeolian processes
  • Airflow
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Numerical modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling


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