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Spoilt for Choice -- When to Use Which Bedform Identification Tool for What Purpose?
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  • Leon Scheiber,
  • Judith Zomer,
  • Li Wang,
  • Julia Cisneros,
  • Ronald Gutierrez,
  • Alice Lefebvre
Leon Scheiber
Ludwig-Franzius-Institute, Leibniz University of Hannover

Corresponding Author:scheiber@lufi.uni-hannover.de

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Judith Zomer
Wageningen University and Research Center
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Li Wang
East China Normal University
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Julia Cisneros
Texas A&M University
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Ronald Gutierrez
Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru Instituto para la Calidad
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Alice Lefebvre
MARUM, University of Bremen
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Subaqueous dunes are fascinating morphological features that exist in diverse environments such as the deep sea, continental shelves and inland streams or rivers. Due to their rhythmic and oftentimes very frequent occurrence along the predominant flow direction, the analysis of these bedforms is usually assigned to bedform identification tools. Such algorithms automatically determine crest and trough locations and calculate dune dimensions accordingly. Over the last years, the number of these tools has notably increased with specialized methodologies for every environment and bedform scale. Although many of them are readily available to interested researchers, there may be uncertainty as to which method should be applied in view of a specific research question. As authors of some of the most recent bedform identification tools, we have started to systematically compare our approaches by analyzing an agreed set of diverse bathymetric data. The bed features assessed in this context range from river dunes formed under unidirectional flow over tidally constrained compound dunes to bed elevation profiles gained from flume experiments. The resulting dune characteristics, which each scientist obtained by applying his/her particular algorithm, are thereupon contrasted in a qualitative and quantitative manner uncovering the similarities and differences between individual methodologies. Our preliminary results suggest a strong influence of the original focus of each algorithm and therefore corroborate the need for systematic comparison. In the next step, the gained insights will be used to find and explain the optimum fields of application and, in the end, provide user-oriented guidelines that may support the bedform community in deciding which identification tool should be used for what purpose.