Spatio-temporal variability in accretion and erosion of coastal foredunes in the Netherlands: regional climate and local topography

J.G.S. Keijsers, A. Poortinga, M.J.P.M. Riksen, J. Maroulis

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71 Citations (Scopus)


Depending on the amount of aeolian sediment input and dune erosion, dune size and morphology change over time. Since coastal foredunes play an important role in the Dutch coastal defence, it is important to have good insight in the main factors that control these changes. In this paper the temporal variations in foredune erosion and accretion were studied in relation to proxies for aeolian transport potential and storminess using yearly elevation measurements from 1965 to 2012 for six sections of the Dutch coast. Longshore differences in the relative impacts of erosion and accretion were examined in relation to local beach width. The results show that temporal variability in foredune accretion and erosion is highest in narrow beach sections. Here, dune erosion alternates with accretion, with variability displaying strong correlations with yearly values of storminess (maximum sea levels). In wider beach sections, dune erosion is less frequent, with lower temporal variability and stronger correlations with time series of transport potential. In erosion dominated years, eroded volumes decrease from narrow to wider beaches. When accretion dominates, dune-volume changes are relatively constant alongshore. Dune erosion is therefore suggested to control spatial variability in dune-volume changes. On a scale of decades, the volume of foredunes tends to increase more on wider beaches. However, where widths exceed 200 to 300 m, this trend is no longer observed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere91115
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • aeolian sediment transport
  • dune erosion
  • dutch coast
  • sand transport
  • decadal-scale
  • beach
  • fetch
  • dynamics
  • wind
  • evolution


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