J.Ludwig, S.Lindhorst, C.Betzler, S. E.Bierstedt, R. K.Borówka (2017): Sedimentary rhythms in coastal dunes as a record of intra-annual changes in wind climate (Leba, Poland). Aeolian Research, Volume 27, August 2017, Pages 67-77, doi:10.1016/j.aeolia.2017.06.003


It is shown that coastal dunes bear a so far unread archive of annual wind intensity. Active dunes at the Polish coast near Łeba consist of two genetic units: primary dunes with up to 18 m high eastward-dipping foresets, temporarily superimposed by smaller secondary dunes. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data reveal that the foresets of the primary dunes are bundled into alternating packages imaged as either low- or high-amplitude reflections. High-amplitude packages are composed of quartz sand with intercalated heavy-minerals layers. Low-amplitude packages lack these heavy-mineral concentrations. Dune net-progradation is towards the east, reflecting the prevalence of westerly winds. Winds blowing parallel to the dune crest winnow the lee slope, leaving layers enriched in heavy minerals. Sediment transport to the slip face of the dunes is enhanced during the winter months, whereas winnowing predominantly takes place during the spring to autumn months, when the wind field is bi-directional. As a consequence of this seasonal shift, the sedimentary record of one year comprises one low- and one high-amplitude GPR reflection interval. This sedimentary pattern is a persistent feature of the Łeba dunes and recognized to resemble a sedimentary “bar code”. To overcome hiatuses in the bar code of individual dunes and dune-to-dune variations in bar-code quality, dendrochronological methods were adopted to compile a composite bar code from several dunes. The resulting data series shows annual variations in west-wind intensity at the southern Baltic coast for the time period 1987 to 2012. Proxy-based wind data are validated against instrumental based weather observations.

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