Spring 2014

Document Type

Poster Session


Geographic Information Systems


Matthew Bampton


Scotland, Shetland Islands, sand dunes, gis


The Shetland Islands, northeast of Scotland, experienced an unusually extreme storm that caused unique sand shifting patterns and sand dune formations that resulted in the destruction of the Village of Broo. There is little existing information about the weather and terrain of the Shetland Islands during the extreme storm that was estimated to have occurred between 1650 and 1670. WindNinja, a wind model originally developed for wildland fire application, was used to understand the wind patterns that may have caused the unique sand patterns and resulting destruction. It incorporates existing terrain elevations and vegetation as well as average wind speed and direction to produce spatially varying wind patterns. Because unique sand patterns were created by the storm in question, it was determined that the prevailing southwest wind was not the cause of the sand patterns, but the prevailing wind was used as the basis to analyze the reliability of the model. Analyzing the model output of several average wind directions and speeds aided in the determination of potential causes of the sand patterns and dune formations. The results of the model suggest that the output depends most significantly on the average wind direction input and the ground terrain as defined by the digital elevation model.

Start Date

April 2014



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