Formation of parabolic dunes from barchan and transverse dunes along Israel's Mediterranean coast

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The Mediterranean coastal dunes of Israel underwent a land-use change during the second half of the 20th century. Due to intense agricultural and pastoral activity, the coastal dunes were stripped of natural vegetation until the end of the first half of the 20th century. The barchan and transverse dunes were shaped by strong southwesterly winter winds. A decrease in human activity during the second half of the 20th century brought about a renewal of natural vegetation on the dune crest - the only area with neither erosion nor deposition. The establishment of vegetation on the crest changes the dynamics of these barchan and transverse dunes, so that not all of the sand eroded from the windward side is carried to the lee slip-face; some is trapped by plants. Consequently, there is a change in the shape of the windward slope from convex to concave, and the dune gradually becomes parabolic. In this study we trace the morphodynamics of the dunes by analysing 12 sets of aerial photographs, which were taken from 1944 to 1995. The average rate of advance of 15 dunes has decreased from 3·4 m a-1 to 1·9 m a-1, while the vegetation cover has increased from 4·3 to 17 per cent during this period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1161
Number of pages15
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2002


  • Aeolian processes
  • Coastal dunes
  • Parabolic dunes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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