The spatial and temporal variability of sand erosion across a stabilizing coastal dune field

Noam Levin*, Giora J. Kidron, Eyal Ben-Dor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed at quantifying the temporal and spatial variability in sand erosion and deposition over a coastal dune field in Israel. These were measured monthly over 2 years using 315 erosion pins over four transects that were placed perpendicular to the coastline. Vegetation cover was estimated based on aerial photographs and Landsat satellite images, whereas the relative height was based on a digital elevation model. These variables were calculated for the area upwind (south west) of the erosion pins, at various lengths, ranging from 15 to 400 m. Nine geomorphologic units were defined, five related to active units, and four to stabilized units. In active units at least 65% of the temporal variance in the annual absolute changes in sand level was explained by the index of Resultant Drift Potential, with most of the sand movement occurring during winter storms. Local rainfall had no apparent impact on sand mobility, due to the low coincidence of sand carrying winds and rainfall in Israel during the passage of frontal cyclones. As for the spatial variables, only a weak correlation was found between sand mobility with the distance from the coastline (R2 = 18%). Rather, sand erosion and deposition were influenced by vegetation cover and the relative height of an area of 100-200 m upwind. The values of Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index were significantly negatively correlated with annual absolute changes (R2 = 40%), whereas the relative height was significantly positively correlated (R2 = 36%). Applying a multiple regression model, 68% of the spatial variability in sand mobility was explained. The resulting map of sand activity clearly shows that at this stage of the stabilization process, most of the dunes are now disconnected, and movement of sand grains from the beach or between the dunes, is very limited. These methods can be applied into spatial and temporal models of sand mobility, thus assessing the impact of different management practices on coastal dunes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-715
Number of pages19
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Coastal dunes
  • Dune mobility
  • Rainfall
  • Remote sensing
  • Topography
  • Vegetation
  • Wind


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