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Recent and Future Changes in Rainfall Erosivity and Implications for the Soil Erosion Risk in Brandenburg, NE Germany

1
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, 12489 Berlin, Germany
2
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, 24118 Kiel, Germany
3
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
4
Department of Geography, Humboldt-University of Berlin, 12489 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(5), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050904
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 29 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Hydrology for a Sustainable Land Management. Theory and Practice)
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Abstract

The universal soil loss equation (USLE) is widely used to identify areas of erosion risk at regional scales. In Brandenburg, USLE R factors are usually estimated from summer rainfall, based on a relationship from the 1990s. We compared estimated and calculated factors of 22 stations with 10-min rainfall data. To obtain more realistic estimations, we regressed the latter to three rainfall indices (total and heavy-rainfall sums). These models were applied to estimate future R factors of 188 climate stations. To assess uncertainties, we derived eight scenarios from 15 climate models and two representative concentration pathways (RCP), and compared the effects of index choice to the choices of climate model, RCP, and bias correction. The existing regression model underestimated the calculated R factors by 40%. Moreover, using heavy-rainfall sums instead of total sums explained the variability of current R factors better, increased their future changes, and reduced the model uncertainty. The impact of index choice on future R factors was similar to the other choices. Despite all uncertainties, the results indicate that average R factors will remain above past values. Instead, the extent of arable land experiencing excessive soil loss might double until the mid-century with RCP 8.5 and unchanged land management. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; EURO-CORDEX; Germany; model ensemble; R factor; rainfall erosivity; trend analysis; uncertainty; universal soil loss equation (USLE) climate change; EURO-CORDEX; Germany; model ensemble; R factor; rainfall erosivity; trend analysis; uncertainty; universal soil loss equation (USLE)
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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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Gericke, A.; Kiesel, J.; Deumlich, D.; Venohr, M. Recent and Future Changes in Rainfall Erosivity and Implications for the Soil Erosion Risk in Brandenburg, NE Germany. Water 2019, 11, 904.

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