UAV applications have shown the potential to increase the efficiency of collecting high resolution and spatially extensive topographic datasets of sandy coastal systems. These systems are dynamic and sensitive to variability in wave energy, evident in topographic adjustments associated with storm events. Topographic and volumetric changes of a beach-dune system were measured following a post tropical storm event. Using a pre-storm LiDAR and post-storm UAV survey, we identified high magnitude and continuous alongshore erosion of the foredune. Lower magnitude and discontinuous areas of deposition were also recorded, as sediment eroded from the foredune translated seaward and was deposited onto the beach. Overall, a total volumetric loss of ∼11,000 m3 from the beach-dune zone was recorded along the 2.5 km survey extent. Our results highlight the capability of UAVs for rapid monitoring and quantification of storm impacts. Furthermore, confidence in reported topographic changes was improved by implementing quality control measures and handling of data uncertainties (e.g., vegetation). The aim of this chapter is to quantify the impact of a storm event on a beach-dune system and discuss methodological challenges of monitoring sandy coastlines with UAVs.
Part of the book: Spatial Variability in Environmental Science