Application of a Remote Sensing Technique to the Study of Coastal Dunes

Irene Delgado-Fernandez, Robin Davidson-Arnott, Jeff Ollerhead

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


    This paper reports on a remote sensing station specifically Designed to investigate eolian processes at a beach–dune system. The monitoring station is located at Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island National Park, Prince Edward Island (Canada), and it is the second, improved generation of a previous system using continuous video and photographs. The setup consists of three digital single-lens reflex cameras, a two-dimensional sonic anemometer, two safires, erosion–deposition pins, and an array of batteries and solar panels. The cameras run on a timer that takes pictures every hour. The images are rectified and analyzed using a combination of ArcMap 9.2 and PCI Geomatica software, which permits the generation of moisture maps, vegetation, ice and snow cover, shoreline position, and erosion–deposition processes. The two-dimensional sonic provides continuous wind speed and direction, and the saltation probes record the intensity of transport events. The result is a large geodatabase of a time series of factors affecting eolian processes at the beach at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. This geodatabase can be queried, and it is a valuable tool for studying the frequency and magnitude of events delivering sediment from the beach to the dune and thus for improving our knowledge of sediment transport at coastal areas. Although the remote sensing station was initially conceived as a tool to measure subaerial processes, a full year of measurements shows large potential for the system to provide information on processes at the nearshore environment and ice dynamics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1160-1167
    JournalJournal of Coastal Research
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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