Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

Committee Director

Xixi Wang

Committee Member

Gary Schafran

Committee Member

Yewei Zheng


Soil erosion by wind has been found to be negatively related to soil water content, as evidenced by that for a given area, such a soil erosion can be much less in a wet than a dry year. However, few studies have examined the functional relationship between wind erosion and soil moisture, primarily due to lack of field measured data. The objectives of this study were to: 1) measure wind erosion in field using a portable wind tunnel devised and made by the author; 2) use the measured data to calibrate/validate a wind erosion model previously developed by the author; 3) model the potential effects of climate change via changes in moisture and wind speed. The study was conducted in the steppe grassland within the Balagaer river watershed located in north China. As part of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation, this study focused on soil conditions with a minimal vegetation coverage to understand the functional relationship between wind erosion, soil moisture, and climate. These conditions are similar with those during winter and spring and/or when the grassland degrades and ultimately becomes a desert. Field samples were analyzed in a laboratory to determine the soil characteristics (e.g., moisture content, texture, hydraulic conductivity, and organic content).


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