Morphometric analysis of aeolian bedforms in the Namib Sand Sea using ASTER data


J.E. Bullard, Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU UK. E-mail:


The ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) has made elevation data at 30 m spatial resolution freely available, enabling reinvestigation of morphometric relationships derived from limited field data using much larger sample sizes. These data are used to analyse a range of morphometric relationships derived for dunes (between dune height, spacing, and equivalent sand thickness) in the Namib Sand Sea, which was chosen because there are a number of extant studies that could be used for comparison with the results. The relative accuracy of GDEM for capturing dune height and shape was tested against multiple individual ASTER DEM scenes and against field surveys, highlighting the smoothing of the dune crest and resultant underestimation of dune height, and the omission of the smallest dunes, because of the 30 m sampling of ASTER DEM products. It is demonstrated that morphometric relationships derived from GDEM data are broadly comparable with relationships derived by previous methods, across a range of different dune types. The data confirm patterns of dune height, spacing and equivalent sand thickness mapped previously in the Namib Sand Sea, but add new detail to these patterns. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.