Modelling vegetated dune landscapes

Baas, A.C.W. and Nield, J.M. (2007) Modelling vegetated dune landscapes. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L06405-[5pp]. (doi:10.1029/2006GL029152).


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This letter presents a self-organising cellular automaton model capable of simulating the evolution of vegetated dunes with multiple types of plant response in the environment. It can successfully replicate hairpin, or long-walled, parabolic dunes with trailing ridges as well as nebkha dunes with distinctive deposition tails. Quantification of simulated landscapes with eco-geomorphic state variables and subsequent cluster analysis and PCA yields a phase diagram of different types of coastal dunes developing from blow-outs as a function of vegetation vitality. This diagram indicates the potential sensitivity of dormant dune fields to reactivation under declining vegetation vitality, e.g. due to climatic changes. Nebkha simulations with different grid resolutions demonstrate that the interaction between the (abiotic) geomorphic processes and the biological vegetation component (life) introduces a characteristic length scale on the resultant landforms that breaks the typical self-similar scaling of (un-vegetated) bare-sand dunes.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1029/2006GL029152
ISSNs: 0094-8276 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: aeolian dunes, vegetation, phase diagram
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 49334
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
23 March 2007Published
20 December 2006Submitted
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:26

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