A method for estimating sediment budgets of washover deposits using digital terrain models

Lars Ø. Hansen, Verner B. Ernstsen, Lars B. Clemmensen, Zyad Al-Hamdani, Aart Kroon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Washover fans are located on small barriers in fetch-limited micro-tidal coastal environments in Denmark. These washover fans are formed during high-energy storm events and we present a method to quantify their volumes and to estimate sediment exchanges between washover fans and their adjacent morphologies. We use high resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) based on light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data. We have delineated landforms using known methods of scale analysis and geomorphometric classification. We quantified volumes of the delineated landforms and estimated the related sediment budgets. These computed volumes were compared using different pre-depositional surfaces. Finally, we assessed the sediment exchange and associated sources of sediments of the washover fans. We applied a scale analysis to determine suitable DTM resolution and focal statistics window size as input to a geomorphometric classification analysis. Landform areas and landforms were delineated using morphometric threshold values, and volumes and sediment budgets of the delineated landforms were computed using different assumptions to define the pre-depositional surface. Resulting washover fan volumes were validated against digital elevation model (DEM) of difference (DoD) derived volumes. Sediment budgets were derived from representative volumes of the washover fans and adjacent berms. We show that quantification of washover features derived from DTMs, using geomorphometric analysis is feasible and that the presented approach provides estimates of washover deposit volumes with an accuracy between 1% and 28% compared to control volumes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-821
Number of pages18
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2021


  • digital terrain model
  • geomorphometry
  • landform volume
  • multiscale analysis
  • sediment budget
  • washover deposit

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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