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Hydrology 2017, 4(1), 15; doi:10.3390/hydrology4010015

Catchment Hydrology during Winter and Spring and the Link to Soil Erosion: A Case Study in Norway

1
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Fredrik A Dahlsvei 20, N-1431 Ås, Norway
2
Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra), P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Okke Batelaan
Received: 2 January 2017 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract

In the Nordic countries, soil erosion rates in winter and early spring can exceed those at other times of the year. In particular, snowmelt, combined with rain and soil frost, leads to severe soil erosion, even, e.g., in low risk areas in Norway. In southern Norway, previous attempts to predict soil erosion during winter and spring have not been very accurate owing to a lack of catchment-based data, resulting in a poor understanding of hydrological processes during winter. Therefore, a field study was carried out over three consecutive winters (2013, 2014 and 2015) to gather relevant data. In parallel, the development of the snow cover, soil temperature and ice content during these three winters was simulated with the Simultaneous Heat and Water (SHAW) model for two different soils (sand, clay). The field observations carried out in winter revealed high complexity and diversity in the hydrological processes occurring in the catchment. Major soil erosion was caused by a small rain event on frozen ground before snow cover was established, while snowmelt played no significant role in terms of soil erosion in the study period. Four factors that determine the extent of runoff and erosion were of particular importance: (1) soil water content at freezing; (2) whether soil is frozen or unfrozen at a particular moment; (3) the state of the snow pack; and (4) tillage practices prior to winter. SHAW performed well in this application and proved that it is a valuable tool for investigating and simulating snow cover development, soil temperature and extent of freezing in soil profiles. View Full-Text
Keywords: SHAW; soil freezing; snow; infiltration; modelling; soil erosion SHAW; soil freezing; snow; infiltration; modelling; soil erosion
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Starkloff, T.; Hessel, R.; Stolte, J.; Ritsema, C. Catchment Hydrology during Winter and Spring and the Link to Soil Erosion: A Case Study in Norway. Hydrology 2017, 4, 15.

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