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Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 7-17

Modelling desert dune fields based on discrete dynamics

1Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics and its Applications, University College London, Gower Street, London WCIE 6BT, UK
2Department of Geography, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H OAP, UK
3Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby V5A 1S6, BC, Canada

Received 10 May 2001

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A mathematical formulation is developed to model the dynamics of sand dunes. The physical processes display strong non-linearity that has been taken into account in the model. When assessing the success of such a model in capturing physical features we monitor morphology, dune growth, dune migration and spatial patterns within a dune field. Following recent advances, the proposed model is based on a discrete lattice dynamics approach with new features taken into account which reflect physically observed mechanisms.