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A remote-sensing technique for the identification of aeolian fetch distance

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Abstract

This paper describes a new method for assessing aeolian fetch distances in beach/dune systems. The remote-sensing technique has advantages over currently used proxy measures of fetch distance, such as those based on tide gauges and beach profiles. The method uses a digital camera, global positioning system surveying, and a geographical information system software package to produce a rectified image of the beach surface. From this, direct measurements of the wet–dry beach boundary can be combined with wind direction measurements to determine fetch distance. The method offers an improvement on current approaches to sediment transport estimates: a 28-day study on Magilligan Strand, Northern Ireland, showed that the commonly used high water mark approach overestimated fetch distance by 30% compared with the technique reported here.

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