Coastal foredunes are highly dynamic landforms because of rapid erosion by waves and currents during storm surges in combination with gradual accretion by aeolian transport during more quiescent conditions. While our knowledge into the mechanisms behind foredune erosion have reached considerable maturity, this is not the case for foredune growth. High resolution spatio-temporal data sets of beach and foredune topography, which are needed to increase our understanding of mechanisms behind aeolian transport in coastal environments and to develop predictive dune-accretion models, are scarce. Here we aim to illustrate that repeated Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS) surveys provide an accurate and robust method to study detailed changes in dune volume on the timescales of months to years. An MLS system attached to an inertial navigation system with RTK-GPS (INS-GPS) was used to carry out 13 surveys along a 3.5-km Dutch beach over a 2.5-year period. The height observations were post-processed and averaged into 1 × 1 m Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). Comparison with airborne LiDAR and RTK-GPS data revealed that the obtained DEMs were accurate and robust up to a height of 15 m in the foredune above which dense vegetation hampers the MLS to see the sand surface. Estimates of dune volume change of the lower 13 m of the foredune have an uncertainty of about 0.25 m
/m. Time series of dune volume change show that at our study site the foredune accretes throughout the year at similar rates (10 m
/m/year), while marine erosion is obviously confined to storm surges. Foredune accretion and erosion vary spatially, which can, in part, be related to variations in beach width.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited