Response of eolian geomorphic systems to minor climate change - examples from the Southern Californian deserts. Lancaster, N..
Eolian processes and landforms are sensitive to changes in atmospheric parameters and surface conditions that affect sediment supply and mobility. The response of eolian geomorphic systems to minor climate change can be examined through process-response models based on a combination of relations between short-term changes in climatic variables and eolian activity and the geologic and geomorphic record of Holocene eolian activity. At both time scales, eolian activity in southern Californian deserts is strongly controlled by Variations in precipitation. Wind energy is not a limiting factor in this region. Formation of eolian deposits is a product of climatic changes that increase sediment supply from fluvial and lacustrine sources and may, therefore, be closely tied to periods of channel cutting and geomorphic instability. During intervening periods, eolian deposits migrate away from sediment source areas and are reworked, modified, and degraded. Remobilization of existing dormant dunes is a product of reduced vegetation cover and soil moisture in periods of drier climates. The major control on these processes is decadal to annual changes in rainfall that determine vegetation cover and soil moisture content.