Coastal dune activity and foredune formation on Moreton Island, Australia, 1944–2015

Noam Levin*, Pierre Elie Jablon, Stuart Phinn, Kerry Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The stabilization process of coastal dunes is complex, involving feedback mechanisms and lag times between changes in climatic conditions, vegetation establishment and dune movement. In this study our aim was to examine changes in dune activity and in the establishment of foredunes on Moreton Island, Australia. We used historical aerial photos, satellite images and Lidar data to quantify changes in bare sand areas, dune movement rates, foredune development and coastline changes between 1944 and 2015. We used wind data (1957–2016), to quantify changes in sand drift potential (DP) and in wind directionality, and wave data (1977–2016) to examine changes in wave height and wave direction. We found that transgressive dunes on Moreton Island have started stabilizing in the early 1970s, after a series of continuous foredunes developed on the eastern coast of Moreton Island, in spite of the increase in DP values. Foredunes have started establishing in the 1960s and 1970s during a period of lower wave height and decreased wind directionality. Once established, these foredunes have diminished sand supply to the transgressive dunes, causing a phase shift in the state of dune activity on the island. Coastal dune activity should therefore be examined over time scales of several decades at least, in order to quantify trends and to understand the underlying and causes to observed processes. Understanding the factors responsible for foredune formation is important for explaining dune stabilization on Moreton Island.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalAeolian Research
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Aerial photos
  • Drift potential
  • Dune stabilization
  • El-Niño Southern Oscillation
  • Remote sensing
  • Wave height


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