Investigations of surface roughness length modification in Black Rock City, Nevada

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The objective of this study is to investigate changes to the surface roughness length (z0) and zero-plane displacement height (zd) in Black Rock City, Nevada (BRC) during the Burning Man festival in 2013. The surface parameters are estimated using both anemometric and morphometric methods. Estimated z0 values were much larger than a typical playa surface but remained smaller than a typical urban or suburban area. Anemometric methods result in large scatter, but generate reasonable results. Removal of slightly-unstable periods lowers scatter and improves reasonableness of observational estimates of zd. Morphometric estimates predict an early peak in z0 and an increase in zd throughout the event. Based on these results, this morphometric approach appears valid for use in BRC or other temporary cities.

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