Mapping dune dynamics by InSAR coherence

Shiran Havivi, Doron Amir, Ilan Schvartzman, Yitzhak August, Shimrit Maman, Stanley R. Rotman, Dan G. Blumberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is generally held that subtle changes in sandy environments are very difficult to detect in imagery. Nonetheless, this study demonstrates how synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometric decorrelation can be used to identify changes in individual sand dunes. The use of coherence maps over time facilitates the analysis of dune dynamics, both temporally and spatially. The Ashdod-Nizzanim coastal dunes, along the southern coastal plain of Israel, were chosen as an illustrative example of the analysis of dune dynamics. High-resolution TerraSAR-X (TSX) radar images covering the entire research area were acquired for the period February to July 2012, together with meteorology data (wind and rain) for the area. The coherence results enabled the stability of individual dunes to be described as a function of time. It was found that the dune crests were more stable than the windward slopes and that the degree of stability was dependent on the distance of the dune from the sea. The results of this study show the potential of using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) decorrelation for aeolian studies, even in areas characterized by low coherence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1229-1240
Number of pages12
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 May 2018


  • SAR interferometry
  • aeolian geomorphology
  • change detection
  • dune stability

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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