Sand dune dynamics and climate change: A modeling approach Academic Article uri icon


  • [1] We provide several examples for the coexistence of active and fixed sand dunes under similar climatic conditions, namely, with respect to wind power and precipitation rate. A model is developed for dune vegetation cover that includes wind power, precipitation rate, and anthropogenic effects, such as grazing and wood gathering. The model reproduces the observed dune's bistability and shows that under intense human pressure and prolonged droughts the fixed dunes may turn active. Moreover, the model shows that the dune reactivation process is almost irreversible, as a fixed dune will become active only under the action of very strong winds and can then return to the fixed state only when wind power decreases far below the levels under which the initial dune maintained its stability. Similar hysteretic behavior of dune mobility is predicted by the model with respect to changing precipitation and human pressure parameters.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009