Decadal-scale morphologic variability of managed coastal dunes

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Coastal dunes located in densely populated areas provide various services to man, such as protection against flooding during storm surges. Since coastal dunes are dynamic features, the level of protection they provide varies in time. Therefore, management interventions are often undertaken to stabilize the dunes to reduce the natural variability. This study provides quantitative insight into the morphologic variability of managed foredunes over time spans of decades. We used Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis on a 45 year data set of annually surveyed dune profiles along 97 km of the Netherlands' coast. On average, 70% of the deviations from the time-averaged profiles could be related to cross-shore coherent changes in foredune shape as mapped onto EOF 1. These changes are often largely due to morphologic developments occurring near the dunefoot. Changes in dune shape were coherent over time as well as in the longshore direction albeit with different characteristic patterns along the coast. These results show that managed foredunes may still exhibit considerable morphologic variability that should not be ignored in long-term dune safety assessment studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-936
JournalCoastal engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • METIS-272233
  • IR-86386
  • Morphologic variability
  • EOF analysis
  • Managed foredunes

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